Jim Leyland continues to insist there is nothing wrong with his closer, proof Max Scherzer had nasty stuff in ALCS game 4, Joel Zumaya drops a hint and the NLCS goes to a game 7. These stories and more in today's Morning Prowl.
Detroit Tigers links:
The Tigers' manager essentially says everybody needs to simmer down now.
"I think everybody's making too big of a deal of the Valverde situation," Leyland said Saturday prior to a team workout at Comerica Park. "Valverde's going to be ready. There's nothing wrong with Valverde. He's going to be fine."
Tigers' simulated game: Jose Valverde struggles again; Alex Avila, Don Kelly homer: Detroit Free Press, George Sipple
But just when you think everything is OK with their beleaguered closer...
Here’s what they saw in a five-inning simulated game — or a scrimmage, depending on the terminology you prefer — featuring the Tigers and some of their minor-league prospects:
Jose Valverde surrendered a walk, two singles (by the team’s two best hitters) and a run in his inning on the mound.
Miguel Cabrera had 205 hits this season, but this fake single might be his favorite (Video): MLB.com, Andrew LeRay
One of the above mentioned hitters was the Triple Crown winner. He was caught on tape trash talking the Big Potato after singling during a workout. Harold Reynolds apparently believes Miggy is yelling, "HEEEEEEEYYYYYYYYYYYY!"
3 questions with Tigers' broadcaster Rod Allen: Detroit Free Press
I don't know about you big fellas out there, but I want to know what the Tigers' color man has to say about the World Series. Let me also add, Rod Allen >>>>>>>>> Tim McCarver. For that matter, the big fella in the Ace Hardware commercial >>>>>>>>> Tim McCarver.
So I don't think the Tigers have a preference as to who they want to play, either San Francisco or St. Louis, but for me, the more interesting question is, with both teams being so good against righties this year in their league, do the Tigers have Brayan Villarreal on the World Series roster or do they keep Drew Smyly? I know they've probably talked about that, so we'll see which way they go.
Six-day layoff not ideal for Tigers: USA Today, Bob Nightengale
We learn how the Marlboro Man ended up with a gash on his head (a certain wacky lefty ), how much he spent on World Series tickets (LOTS), and more about George Lopez. visiting the team (he wore a Tigers cap during his show at the Fox).
"I usually don't go out in those celebrations," Leyland said, "but Phil Coke got me, and poured the bottle out. I was freezing, so I jumped up, and he hit my bald spot in the back, split my head open.
"He apologized. I told him, "You save four more games, you can slice my head open.''
The Waiting Isn't the Hardest Part of October: The Wall Street Journal, Jared Diamond
Does a long layoff between the LCS and World Series hurt teams? The WSJ debunks the theory.
Since 1995, the amount of rest between the LCS and World Series has had virtually no effect on a team's performance. The teams that won the World Series over that span averaged 3.5 days off. The teams that lost averaged 3.4. The teams that had at least six days off went 3-3, while the 13 teams with fewer than three days off went 6-7.
Detroit Tigers deserve more credit for sweeping New York Yankees: Red Sox Monster, Ben Shapiro
It takes a Red Sox beat writer to say what needs to be said about the Tigers' destruction of the Yankees.
The New York Yankees, a good team, unfortunately played absolutely terrible baseball in the 2012 ALCS. The Tigers, a very good team, is playing some very good baseball right now.
Don't forget to give the Tigers plenty of credit for beating New York.
Decline and Fall: Sports on Earth, Joe Posnanski
Apparently the Tigers are Buster Douglas and the Yankees are Mike Tyson. So...the Tigers are lucky journeymen and the Yankees are crazy ass loons?
This Detroit-New York series … yes, it was like watching that Tyson mouthpiece scene all over again for four games, like watching Buster Douglas pummel Mike Tyson all over again over six jaw-dropping days. It wasn't just the Tigers sweep -- those things happen. It wasn't just Detroit's dominance -- the Tigers are playing very well and with Verlander, Scherzer, Fister and the middle of that lineup they could sweep any team in baseball over four games. No, it's something bigger. The Yankees still have money, and they still have talent, and they still have history. Derek Jeter will come back, so will some other stars, and others will be found. I have little doubt that the Yankees can still win.
But they will never be the same. Rome has fallen.
Scherzer Sinks Yankee Hopes Early: Fangraphs,Jack Moore
There was good reason why Max Scherzer took a no hitter into the 6th inning in game 4 of the ALCS. When he keeps the ball low in the zone, as he did on Thursday, Scherzer's stuff is electric.
Scherzer threw 71 pitches to lefties with 51 resulting in strikes. His stuff is so exceptional, especially when buried low in the strike zone, it’s difficult to make solid contact. According to Baseball Prospectus, left-handed hitters fouled the ball off at least 125% as often off Scherzer than they do the typical right-handed hurler when the ball is in the lower-third of the zone this season.
Ex-Tiger Joel Zumaya preys on small mouth bass in Michigan: Detroit Free Press, Lydia Lohrer
This piece is mostly about Zoom fishing for small mouth bass. But he drops a very surprising nugget about his future in baseball at the end of the article.
If the free agent is willing to delay dreams of becoming a professional angler and considers giving baseball another try, his fastball is aimed directly at returning to the Motor City.
"I was born to be a Tiger. I've been talking to them. I could end up back here," he said.
Elsewhere in baseball:
NLCS Game 6: Ryan Vogelsong overwhelms Cardinals, helps Giants force deciding Game 7: Big League Stew, Mark Townsend
The Giants won't die, forcing an NLCS game 7. We'll have to wait until 11 PM-ish Monday night before we learn the Tigers' opponent in the World Series. No matter which team advances, the Tigers will have an advantage with a rested Justin Verlander starting game 1 on Wednesday against an NL team having put their pitching staff into all hands on deck situation 48 hours beforehand.
The Giants resiliency shines through again as they won their fifth straight elimination game this postseason. They will put that streak on the line in the winner-take-all Game 7 against a Cardinals team that has won six straight elimination games over the past two postseasons. Something has to give on Monday night. Which side will it be?
Farrell may or may not be the next Francona, but at least Boston got its man: CBS Sports, Jon Heyman
The Red Sox end up trading for a manager. They could have had the windmill known as Gene Lamont for nothing.
Last winter, the Jays supposedly wanted Clay Buchholz back for Farrell. This year, they accepted (Mike) Aviles.That's like asking for the moon, and accepting a moon pie.
Yankees Will Exercise Granderson's Option For 2013: MLB Trade Rumors, Mike Axisa
$15 nillion for a guy who has turned into a slightly better version of Adam Dunn. The Tigers soooo won the trade.
The Yankees intend to exercise Curtis Granderson's club option for 2013, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). The option was originally worth $13MM, but Granderson triggered an escalator clause with his fourth place finish in last season's MVP voting. The option is now worth $15MM.
Saturday trade shocker: Diamondbacks land Heath Bell, trade Chris Young to A’s in three-way deal: Big League Stew, Mark Townsend
I'm flabbergasted the Diamondbacks actually wanted Heath Bell and agreed to the Marlins picking up less than half of his nuts contract. My sincerest condolences go out to D-backs manager Kirk Gibson.
So the Marlins not only get rid of another major headache, they won't be forced to eat the majority of said headache's contract, and they also get a middle of the road prospect in return. Not a bad day at the office for president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest and his crew.