Rain threatens ALCS game between Tigers and Rangers ... again
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A steady drizzle has been falling in Detroit all afternoon, and the rain is expected to delay and possibly postpone Game 4 of the American League Championship Series between the Tigers and Texas Rangers.
The game is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. EDT, but the forecast calls for at least a 60% chance of rain from 4 to 7 p.m. Less than half an hour before the scheduled first pitch, the tarp remained on the infield. Game 2 of the ALCS was rained out Sunday in Texas, forcing the teams to play on Monday’s scheduled off day.
The outlook for Thursday isn’t much better, with a 30% chance of rain during the day and a 60% chance of rain in the evening. The teams could play on Friday’s off-day, but Major League Baseball would like to get at least one game in over the next two days to preserve a possible Game 6 and 7 in Texas on Saturday and Sunday.
Two injured Tigers -- left fielder Delmon Young and designated hitter Victor Martinez, who both dealing with rib-cage strains -- are in the lineup, as is Texas third baseman Adrian Beltre, who fouled a ball off his left knee Tuesday night and played most of Game 3 in considerable pain.
Young suffered his injury in the division series and missed Games 1 and 3 of the ALCS. Martinez suffered his injury on a fourth-inning swing that produced a solo home run in Detroit’s 5-2 Game 3 victory Tuesday night.
‘Big-time players, they expect to be in the lineup,’ Detroit Manager Jim Leyland said. ‘They know the fans want to see them in the lineup. They know it helps their team.’
Rangers Manager Ron Washington has both of his catchers in the lineup, Mike Napoli behind the plate and Yorvit Torrealba, who had a double and two singles in his first ALCS start Tuesday night, at designated hitter. Should Napoli get hurt, forcing Torrealba to catch, the Rangers would lose the DH. ‘Well, it’s something you do take into consideration, but I’m trying to put the best lineup out there that I possibly can, the one I think will help me produce the runs,’ Washington said. ‘And the way Torrealba swung the bat light night, I want him to get an opportunity to go out there today and be a good weapon.’
Washington also kept Michael Young in the cleanup spot despite the utility player’s .111 average (3 for 27) in seven postseason games. Young has scored two runs but has not driven in a run.
‘For me, to make that type of change would be to panic,’ Washington said. ‘I’m not panicking, because my guy is not panicking. We’re talking about Michael Young. Seven years of 200 hits. He knows how to make an adjustment. At some point, he will. Today could be the day Michael Young stops all this talk about him hitting .111 in the fourth spot.’
Detroit right-hander Rick Porcello is scheduled to oppose left-hander Matt Harrison, with the Rangers leading the best-of-seven series, two games to one.
The Rangers lineup: 2B Ian Kinsler, SS Elvis Andrus, CF Josh Hamilton, 1B Michael Young, 3B Adrian Beltre, C Mike Napoli, RF Nelson Cruz, LF David Murphy, DH Yorvit Torrealba, P Matt Harrison.
The Tigers lineup: CF Austin Jackson, RF Ryan Raburn, 1B Miguel Cabrera, DH Victor Martinez, LF Delmon Young, C Alex Avila, SS Jhonny Peralta, 2B Ramon Santiago, 3B Brandon Inge, P Rick Porcello.
--Mike DiGiovanna in Detroit