Wednesday, October 11, 2006

VCU's Inge paces Tigers to lead in ALCS

Last night the Detroit Tigers defeated the Oakland A’s to take a 1-0 lead in the ALCS: Detroit 5, Oakland 1. The Tigers’ attack was led by Brandon Inge, who went three-for-three and picked up two runs-batted-in. Inge is one of three Tigers with a Richmond-area connection.

Inge, 5-11, 188, is from Lynchburg (born in 1977) and played his college baseball for Virginia Commonwealth University, before being drafted in 1998's second round by the Tigers. Inge, now the Tigers third baseman, bats and throws right-handed.

However, before settling in at the hot corner last season, the multitalented Inge toiled behind the plate as a catcher and occasionally played in the outfield for four seasons. In 2006 he hit for a .253 average, with 27 home runs and 83 runs-batted-in.

Right-handed starting pitcher Justin Verlander, 6-5, 200, hails from Goochland (born in 1983) and played at Old Dominion University before being drafted by the Tigers in 2004’s first round.

In his first full season at Detroit, Verlander turned in a stellar performance that has him being considered for both the Rookie of the Year and the Cy Young awards. For the season he went 17-9, with an earned-run-average of 0.363. He will start Game Two of the series tonight in Oakland.

Last night veteran first baseman Sean Casey left the game in the sixth inning with a calf injury, the seriousness of which is yet to be determined. Casey, 6-4, 237, who was born (1974) in Willingboro, N.J., played his college baseball at the University of Richmond. Casey bats left-handed and throws right-handed.

The Cleveland Indians originally drafted Casey in 1995 in the second round. He was then traded to Cincinnati in 1998, where he played for eight seasons. Traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the off-season, Casey was subsequently traded from Pittsburgh to Detroit in mid-season. For 2006 Casey batted .272, with 8 home runs and 59 runs-batted-in.

As the Atlanta Braves are not in postseason play for the first time since 1990, with those three locally-connected guys on their roster, I’m pulling for the Tigers. Perhaps most importantly, the New York Yankees have been eliminated. Tonight the NLCS opens with the St. Louis Cardinals in New York to face the Mets.
Photo: VCU

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