Patrick Reusse: ALCS also a reminder of failures

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 16, 2011 - 12:13 AM

Players ignored injuries in the playoffs, far different from the local nine's behavior.

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Delmon Young has had a great postseason, and he has played despite an injured oblique in the ALCS for the Tigers. In spring training with the Twins, he skipped out on playing because of a sore toe.

Photo: Paul Sancya, Associated Press

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The teams competing for the American League pennant were admirable in every way during baseball's postseason tournament.

The Texas Rangers opened with a 9-0 loss at home to streaking Tampa Bay, then advanced through the first round with three victories that came by a total of four runs.

The Detroit Tigers were pounded 10-1 by the slugging New York Yankees to send that opening series back to the Bronx, then held on through long and increasingly tense innings for a 3-2 victory in Game 5.

The resiliency and professionalism had been maintained by both teams in the ALCS, which ended with the Rangers' victory in Game 6 on Saturday night in Arlington, Texas.

Hardball fans watched as Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde laid it on the line game-by-game for the Tigers, until manager Jim Leyland was forced to announce that his two prime relievers could not be used in Thursday night's possible elimination game.

So Justin Verlander, with nothing resembling his best pitches, hung on to throw 133 and work 7 1/3 innings. And a fired-up Phil Coke, preferably used to get out lefties, came in to get the last five outs and keep alive the Tigers.

Through all of this gutsy pitching, the spirit of the 2011 Tigers was as clear with the lineup.

Victor Martinez has been so hobbled you can't tell which leg he's limping on and he's still in the middle of the order. Ironman catcher Alex Avila keeps going no matter how many wicked foul balls find a piece of him.

And Delmon Young -- yes, that same Delmon -- played through a pulled muscle in his side and drilled two home runs to lead the Tigers to the Game 5 victory.

There's also Miguel Cabrera, the first baseman who was the source of such ridicule for a drunken binge before the last weekend of the 2009 season. Now, he's diving to make plays and terrifying opponents every time they see him step into the box.

Which is all the time: Cabrera led the American League with 161 games played in 2011, and has missed a total of 30 games in his eight full seasons in the big leagues.

There's Texas third baseman Adrian Beltre viciously fouling balls off body parts, yet still present as a most dangerous hitter and magnificent fielder, and Josh Hamilton serving doubles into the outfield gaps while playing with a groin injury.

There was also an old warrior, Mike Napoli, a catcher not known for his throwing, gunning down the Tigers' swift Austin Jackson at a key moment.

A mention of Nelson Cruz is required. The outfielder had his usual battle with hamstring injuries this season, including down the stretch. In the playoffs, he has been turning around fastballs -- including Verlander's clocked at 100 miles per hour -- and making desperate dives at extra-base hits in right field.

This has been great stuff for baseball fanatics, and at the same time it has served to further agitate anyone who was stuck in Minnesota this summer watching the Twins.

Young hitting five home runs in 30 postseason at-bats has caused many barbs to be aimed at Bill Smith, the Twins general manager, for making the waiver deal in August that sent Delmon to Detroit.

From here, the decision to give up on Young isn't as much an indictment of the front office's judgment as it is the attitude that existed in the Twins clubhouse in 2011.

Delmon appeared to be engaged fully with his teammates from the moment he arrived in Detroit, and this month he has been one of the guys -- providing power while playing hurt.

He was one of the guys for the Twins this spring, too. When Justin Morneau (concussion), Joe Mauer (general soreness) and Michael Cuddyer (plantar wart surgery) weren't playing, Young decided his sore toe wasn't going to allow him to play in those early exhibitions, either.

It started right there, in Fort Myers -- longer-than-reasonable absences during the exhibition schedule, leading to a season where more players found a way out of the lineup than found a way to help buoy a sinking ship.

The 2011 Twins had the highest payroll in franchise history ($118 million distributed) and the second worst full-season record (63-99).

They were disgusting then, and it's even more disgusting now as you watch the hard-edged, no-excuse approach of the Rangers and the Tigers, including Delmon Young.

Patrick Reusse can be heard noon-4 weekdays on 1500ESPN. • preusse@startribune.com

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Kansas City 0 Bottom 1st Inning
San Francisco 0
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
Carolina
Buffalo 2 FINAL
San Jose 1
Boston 1 2nd Prd 16:56
Toronto 0
NY Rangers 1 2nd Prd 18:52
Montreal 1
New Jersey 0 2nd Prd 14:42
Ottawa 0
Dallas 3 2nd Prd 13:10
NY Islanders 3
Detroit 1 2nd Prd 10:30
Philadelphia 0
Chicago 1 1st Prd 14:36
St. Louis 0
Pittsburgh 1 1st Prd 13:21
Nashville 0
Tampa Bay 0 1st Prd 13:53
Minnesota 0
Florida 8:00 PM
Arizona
Washington 9:00 PM
Calgary
So Florida 17 FINAL
Cincinnati 34
Troy 13 FINAL
South Alabama 27
BYU 30 FINAL
Boise State 55
(6) Oregon 59 FINAL
California 41
North Texas 21 FINAL
Rice 41
UAB 17 FINAL
Arkansas 45
Rutgers 24 FINAL
(16) Nebraska 42
Maryland 7 FINAL
Wisconsin 52
Texas 0 FINAL
(11) Kansas State 23
Minnesota 24 FINAL
Illinois 28
Memphis 48 FINAL
SMU 10
North Carolina 28 FINAL
Virginia 27
San Jose St 31 FINAL
Navy 41
Northern Ill 28 FINAL
Eastern Mich 17
(25) UCLA 40 FINAL
Colorado 37
Akron 21 FINAL
Ball State 35
Massachusetts 35 FINAL
Toledo 42
Ohio U 21 FINAL
Western Mich 42
Ga Southern 69 FINAL
Georgia State 31
Kent State 3 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 10
Oregon State 14 FINAL
Stanford 38
Fla Atlantic 16 FINAL
(23) Marshall 35
Louisiana Tech 31 FINAL
Southern Miss 20
(1) Miss State 45 FINAL
Kentucky 31
Georgia Tech 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 28
(22) West Virginia 34 FINAL
Oklahoma State 10
Texas Tech 27 FINAL
(10) TCU 82
Michigan 11 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 35
Boston College 23 FINAL
Wake Forest 17
Central Mich 20 FINAL
Buffalo 14
Vanderbilt 14 FINAL
Missouri 24
Old Dominion 51 FINAL
Western Ky 66
UNLV 20 FINAL
Utah State 34
Temple 14 4th Qtr 10:17
UCF 34
(15) Arizona 38 3rd Qtr 12:18
Washington St 16
Texas State 0 3rd Qtr
ULM 13
Texas-El Paso 17 2nd Qtr 1:55
TX-San Antonio 0
Wyoming 3 2nd Qtr 7:15
Colorado State 24
Syracuse 3 2nd Qtr 3:32
(21) Clemson 3
(3) Ole Miss 7 2nd Qtr 13:50
(24) LSU 0
(4) Alabama 20 1st Qtr 3:12
Tennessee 0
So Carolina 7 2nd Qtr 14:54
(5) Auburn 7
(13) Ohio State 0 1st Qtr 14:55
Penn State 0
(20) USC 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10:59 PM
Hawaii
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Memphis
Purdue 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
(17) Oklahoma 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa State
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(22) West Virginia
Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
Northwestern 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
Army
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
FIU
(18) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Temple
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Connecticut
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Miami-Florida
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Syracuse
Texas State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico St
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
(20) USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Louisiana
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UNLV
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(5) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(1) Miss State
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(6) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(7) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Navy
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(15) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(19) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(14) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Hawaii
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
Seattle 2
D.C. 1 FINAL
Montreal 1
Toronto FC 0 1st Half 8:00
New England 1
Portland 7:30 PM
FC Dallas
Colorado 9:00 PM
Vancouver FC
Montreal 23 FINAL
Ottawa 17
Saskatchewan 27 FINAL
Calgary 40
Hamilton 24 FINAL
Toronto 26
Brt Columbia 7 2:02
Winnipeg 14
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
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