Elias Says ...

A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:

• Jim Leyland's lineup for Game 3 of the ALCS had Ramon Santiago as the starting shortstop. The Tigers have had three different players start at shortstop in three consecutive games (Carlos Guillen started Game 1, Neifi Perez in Game 2). Only two other teams in postseason history had a different player start at shortstop in three consecutive games: the 1981 Astros (Kiko Garcia, Dickie Thon and Craig Reynolds) and 1999 Diamondbacks (Hanley Frias, Tony Womack and Andy Fox).

• When Kenny Rogers took the mound Friday for the Tigers, it was the eighth time in the 2006 playoffs in which a game was started by a pitcher who was over 40 years old. From 1903 to 2005, only nine postseason games were started by pitchers over 40. The six elder statesmen who have started a game in this year's postseason (Kenny Rogers, Tom Glavine, Woody Williams, Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux and David Wells) have a combined record of 4-3 with a 2.81 ERA and have not allowed a home run in 48 innings pitched.

The A's were hitless in seven at-bats with runners on base against Rogers (0-for-8 in the game). Rogers has held opposing batters hitless in the past 28 at-bats with runners on base in the postseason (his last three such batters in the 1999 playoffs, 0-for-18 against the Yankees, 0-for-7 against the A's). That's the fifth-longest streak of its kind in postseason history and just six at-bats shy of the record held by Whitey Ford (34, 1960-62).

Rogers has won a game against two of his former teams in the 2006 playoffs (Yankees and A's). He's the first starting pitcher in major league history to win games against two former teams in a single postseason. Florida's Dennis Cook defeated San Francisco and Cleveland in the 1997 playoffs, both wins coming in relief.

Ready for some more on Rogers? He has pitched back-to-back games of at least seven innings pitched without allowing a run in the 2006 postseason. Only two other pitchers in the past 25 years had consecutive starts of that nature in a single postseason, both in 2000: Roger Clemens for the Yankees and Mike Hampton for the Mets.

• The Tigers are the 29th team in postseason history to win the first three games of a best-of-seven series. In the previous 28 such series, 22 ended in a sweep.

• Detroit has won six straight postseason games, and the last five were by at least three runs each. The Tigers are the first team in postseason history to win five straight games all by three or more runs.

• St. Louis won Game 2 of the NLCS despite trailing by three runs. The Cardinals were 3-54 (.053) during the regular season in games in which they trailed by three or more runs, the worst such record for any team in the major leagues.

So Taguchi has had two at-bats in the 2006 postseason, and both were home runs. Taguchi is the third player in major league history to hit a home run in each of his first two at-bats of a postseason. Joe Collins did it for the Yankees in 1955 and Gary Gaetti for the Twins in 1987.

Scott Spiezio was 2-for-2 with runners in scoring position in Game 2 of the NLCS and is an incredible 14-for-20 (.700) with RISP in his postseason career. That's the highest such batting average in postseason history for any player with at least 10 at-bats in those situations.

Carlos Delgado hit two home runs for the Mets on Friday night. Only one other player hit two home runs in a postseason game at Shea Stadium: Rusty Staub clouted two for the Mets against the Reds in Game 3 of the 1973 NLCS.

Jose Valentin's seventh-inning single was his first hit of the 2006 postseason, snapping an 0-for-15 start. The last player to go hitless in his first 15 at-bats of a postseason was Eric Chavez for the A's in 2003 (0-for-17). The last National League player to do it was Matt Williams for Arizona in 2001 (0-for-15).

Albert Pujols' two-out single in the seventh inning not only ignited a two-run rally for the Cardinals, but it also snapped an 0-for-12 drought. Pujols went 12 straight at-bats without a hit only once during the regular season (0-for-13 during one stretch in May).

Chris Carpenter, the 2005 NL Cy Young Award winner, opposed rookie John Maine in Game 2 of the NLCS Friday night. It was the fifth time in postseason history that the defending Cy Young Award winner opposed a rookie in a postseason game. In three of the five cases, the team starting the rookie won the game:

-- 2006: Chris Carpenter (St.L.) vs. John Maine (NYM). Cardinals won 9-6.
-- 1997: John Smoltz (Atl.) vs. Tony Saunders (Fla.). Marlins won 5-2.
-- 1996: Greg Maddux (Atl.) vs. Alan Benes (St.L.). Braves won 3-1.
-- 1992: Tom Glavine (Atl.) vs. Tim Wakefield (Pit.). Pirates won 13-1.
-- 1992: Tom Glavine (Atl.) vs. Tim Wakefield (Pit.). Pirates won 3-2.

• For only the second time in franchise history the Buffalo Sabres have won each of their first four games of a season. They won the first eight games in 1975-76. Each of the Sabres' four wins has been by a one-goal margin, three of them via a shootout. Only two other teams in NHL history won each of their first four games, all by one goal: Nashville in 2005-06 and Minnesota this season. The Wild have a chance to extend their streak with a game against Columbus on Saturday night. Of course, this is much easier to do since the NHL eliminated ties at the start of the 2005-06 season.

Ray Whitney's goal at 19:59 of the third period propelled the Hurricanes to a 4-3 win over the Thrashers. It was the latest third-period game-winning goal in franchise history. Ron Francis scored at 19:58 of the third period for Hartford in a 2-1 win over Quebec on Dec. 3, 1986.

Ilya Kovalchuk has not scored a goal in five games this season after lighting the lamp 52 times last season. The last player to go goalless in his first five games of a season after scoring 50 or more goals the season before was Keith Tkachuk in 1997-98 (52 goals in 1996-97).

• The Lightning went 0-for-7 on the power play in their 3-2 loss at Florida and are now 0-for-19 with the man advantage over their last three games. The last time Tampa Bay went 0-for-19 or worse on the power play over any three-game span was in March 2001 (0-for-22).