October Confidential: Tigers

Rival players offer inside look at facing the AL Central champions

October Confidential: Tigers

How do you beat the Tigers? MLB.com asked rival players from around Major League baseball to offer an inside look at how best to face the AL Central champions.

Justin Verlander
"I feel like the biggest thing after he dealt with some injuries and has gotten older, is that he doesn't have the 98-100 mph anymore. You can still ride it up there at 93-94, but that's kind of like everybody these days. When you saw him three of four years ago, he'd be at 99 in the ninth inning. So he's starting to throw a lot more off-speed. But he's always been able to pitch backward, because he can control all his pitches. But for me personally, he's a lot more off-speed than going after you at 98-99. He's done well of late, and I think he's going through the thing a lot of pitchers go through when they go from being young and get older. But he's always been a pitcher and not a thrower. But now he doesn't have the velo, so he has to command every pitch. So that's the transition right now."
-- AL Central hitter

Max Scherzer
"He's been my kryptonite since I've been up here. I hate cross-firing guys from the third-base side of the rubber. He loves to come at you with the fastball and then a lot of changeups. You'd think more sliders with right-on-right but he throws more changeups to me. He's one of those guys who's not the most accurate from side-to-side, and he sometimes leaves some over the plate. But his ball moves all over the place and he throws pretty hard. So if he throws one over the plate, you can't miss it."
-- AL Central hitter

  Date   Matchup/Result Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 2   BAL 12, DET 3 video
Gm 2 Oct. 3   BAL 7, DET 6 video
Gm 3 Oct. 5   BAL 2, DET 1 video

David Price
"He really has that cutter going more than ever. He used to be 98 from the first inning to the ninth inning with a backdoor cutter. But now he loves the two-seamer at 90-92 and a cutter at 89-90. Occasionally, he'll ride a four-seamer up or try to bust you in with it for show. A couple of years ago when I'd face him, he'd get ahead and throw a 98 front-door. But now it's more the two-seamer and cutter. He does well commanding both sides of the plate. When you can do that with the stuff he has, that's why he's one of the best."
-- AL Central hitter

Miguel Cabrera
"The best way is to never go about him the same way. He has such quick hands that if you go in you have to go in and off the plate. You can't go in for a first strike or early in a count. A pitch you should throw in a certain count, you should just throw something different. To me, if it's like a 3-2 count and there's not a base open, you're better off with a changeup or something off-speed. Because he's such a smart hitter, you have to go against the grain. He doesn't get enough credit for how smart he is as a hitter. Everyone talks about how strong and how good of a hitter he is, which is also true. Because even if he gets fooled, he's strong enough if he can get the barrel to the ball, he's going to hit it hard. So if he somehow gets outsmarted, he has the strength to make up for it. I don't want to say you have to get lucky, but if you're going to miss you better miss down. If you leave one up, you're in trouble."
-- AL Central pitcher

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"I throw him fastballs hard in. You can get him to chase up late with fastballs. You can get him occasionally on a fastball down in the zone. But he's a great hitter because he stays inside the ball really well. It's hard to get that breaking ball. He's not going to cheat on a fastball. He can hit it the other way. You can get on him sliders down in the zone. But for the most part I stay hard on him and then up."
-- AL Central pitcher 2

Victor Martinez
"I don't know how to get him out. I'm serious. I have no idea. I threw him a slider that almost hit his back foot, and he hit it for a homer. You can't stay in one spot with him or Cabrera. But I don't know to get him out."
-- AL Central pitcher

"I stink against him. He used to be an out away. You could throw him a two-seamer away and he'd be hitting righty, and he'd hit groundballs to second or short nearly every time. But I haven't had great success with him since he's been on the Tigers."
-- AL Central pitcher 2

Alex Avila
"I've faced him a bunch, and he never gets off the heater. So you can show him something in on the hands, but then you just try to spin him to death. I feel like a well-located slider to him is a good pitch from a lefty."
-- AL Central pitcher

Torii Hunter
"Torii doesn't like the ball anywhere near him. So if you can bust him up and in a couple times and make him uncomfortable, you can basically open anything for the rest of the at-bat."
-- AL Central pitcher