Detroit Tigers @ Texas Rangers - ALCS Game 2 - Rangers lead series 1-0
Monday, October 10, 2011
RHP RHP Max Scherzer vs. LHP Derek Holland
This one remains special. Probably my favorite baseball game. For one, it was supposed to be played on October 9 but after rain delays in Game 1, a deluge after that game ended, and forecasted rain for Sunday’s Game 2, the second game of the series was preemptively postponed for Monday.
Monday happened to also be my birthday.
The Rangers had a tough test in the ALCS in 2011 as they were facing a Tigers team that featured arguably the league’s best and most absolutely terrifying hitter in Miguel Cabrera and the world’s best pitcher at the time, Justin Verlander.
Beyond that, the Rangers, in what ended up being a six-game series, would face three pitches who have combined to win six Cy Youngs since. That seemed incredibly problematic for a franchise that has never seen even a single pitcher win that particular award ever.
Verlander was the unstoppable force throughout the 2011 season — indeed winning the American League MVP that season, an unreal feat for a pitcher in modern times. In a rain-slicked Game 1, however, the Rangers and C.J. Wilson set the tone by slaying Verlander in a stressful but exhilarating 3-2 victory.
But Game 2’s starter for the Tigers was Max Scherzer. Imagine being able to slot Max Scherzer behind another starter! Scherzer has gone on to win the Cy Young three times to eclipse even Verlander. In fact, Doug Fister was the lone Tigers starter in this series that never went on to win the Cy Young and *spoilers* he was the only one the Rangers weren’t able to beat.
Texas beat Verlander, beat Scherzer twice — including the Game 6 clincher — and they beat 2016 AL Cy Young winner Rick Porcello in Game 4.
Even with Derek Holland struggling early, the Rangers eventually got the better of Scherzer in Game 2, or, at least, they were able to hang on long enough to get into one of the most intense extra-innings bullpen back-and-forths that I’ve ever experienced live until 2011 postseason wrecking ball Nelson Cruz stepped up with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 11th and did a thing that no one else had ever done in postseason history.
Happy birthday to me!
Game 2 of the 2011 American League Championship Series will stream at noon CT Saturday on the homepages of Rangers.com and MLB.com.