ALCS Game 1 – The day after

News and links from last night’s 5-1 Tigers victory…

The Casey situation

So far the extent of Sean Casey’s injury still isn’t know and won’t be until 1. he wakes up, and 2. he gets some diagnostics (i.e. MRI). What we do know is that my fears have come to fruition and Neifi Perez will be getting the nod at shortstop with Carlos Guillen going to first.

This is my problem with Perez. It isn’t that he’s bad to have as a 25th guy, it’s that Jim Leyland uses him as a 10th guy. I know that we’re not supposed to criticize Leyland, but the decision to carry Infante/Perez/Santiago was a poor one. With Casey’s injury and Perez as the stop gap, the infield defense is measurably weaker at 2 positions and a hole has been added to the lineup. Even if you don’t like Chris Shelton’s stick (and he did look woeful that last week), the impact would have been limited to adding a hole to the lineup and keeping the infield defense intact had he been available.

Macha announces playoff rotatoin

Of course everyone thought that he had announced the playoff rotation, but apparently nobody actually asked him. It will be Esteban Loaiza tonight, but then it will be Rich Harden in game 3 and Danny Haren in game 4. It was anticipated that Haren and Harden would swap spots.

What others are saying

Athletics Nation :: 4 GIDP + 0-13 RISP + 1 E = 0-1

Yes, the umpiring was horrid. I found the non-strikeout call on Polanco to be the worst offense of the night. But our boys lost this game tonight. If that’s Zito’s last appearance in an A’s uniform, then that’s a sad way to go out. I was surprised that the Tigers were able to go against their stats and have a very patient approach against Zito. They looked more like Yankee hitters than Tiger hitters and for that they deserve kudos. I think the Twins could’ve done the same thing and had success against Barry because to me, the majority of Zito’s pitches were also out of the zone. The difference was that the Tigers gave the ump a chance to call them balls. When you throw 92 pitches and only 49 are strikes, you aren’t going to win many games.

The Pastime: Well, that was a weak attempt.

They get on base, but then are erased by double plays and untimely hitting. Macha should really get the runners moving a little more often, but with free swingers like Swisher, Jimenez and Payton in the lineup, that may not be a great idea, either.

Beginning with a loud dose of dud

In chess terms, the A’s lost a bishop in Zito, who finessed and nitpicked and subdivided and struggled with the zone even in the first two innings. They also re-demonstrated their yearlong weakness by doing the absolute minimum with their 14 baserunners. If not for a hard smash off Joel Zumaya’s leg that scored Milton Bradley in the eighth, the A’s would have nothing to show for their first really big evening in 14 years.

DREW SHARP: Robertson displays gumption in 5 shutout innings versus A’s

That’s the work of somebody who doesn’t intimidate easily. And that has been Robertson’s act all season — the more daunting the obstacle, the greater the resolve. His best performances this season were losses in which the Tigers produced two few runs.

Game 1: A+ – 10/11/06 – The Detroit News Online

These were the Tigers we saw most of the summer, and most of that rollicking series against the Yankees. These are the Tigers the rest of the baseball world is getting to know. Timely hitting, clutch pitching, astute managing, a couple of huge homers, a couple feisty fist pumps, a few great catches, a few nifty double-plays, done.

Mack Avenue Tigers: A Detroit Tigers Blog » ALCS Game 1: Tigers win, but will it be costly?

Now, what the Tigers did was a huge step. No doubt about it, it’s a positive start and it’s okay to start believing in the next round. Just don’t set yourself up that Oakland is going to roll over, because I expect them to be mad at the way they played and a lot better with their back against the wall–and it is. Should the Tigers survive that, then, yes, you can really start to get happy. It’s not the key game in the series for the Tigers, just for the A’s. But it’s going to be a nice indicator.

Detroit Tiger Tales

The Tigers defeated the Athletics 5 to 1 in the first game of the American League Championship tonight. From the start, this game had a different feel from any game in the Yankee series. In contrast to the tension and excitement of the first round, this one felt almost like a regular season game. It’s now like June or July again where I expect good things to happen in each game.

19 Comments

  1. Lee Panas

    October 11, 2006 at 8:45 am

    I know beat writers can’t be overly critical but Knobler’s man crush on Leyland is embarrassing. He’s also become very condescending to his audience. Knobler is a great source of inside info but this is poor journalism.

  2. Kyle J

    October 11, 2006 at 9:56 am

    Well, I think it’s a matter of balance. A lot of fans act as if playing Perez spells automatic doom for the team. I agree it’s a poor decision, but it’s a fairly marginal decision–a middle infielder who bats about .260, doesn’t walk, and has very little power instead of a middle infielder who bats about .260, doesn’t walk, and has a modicum of power. Meanwhile, we tend to ignore the good decisions Leyland has made that we questioned before hand (we’ll spend a lot more time talking about Perez than Robertson today, I suspect).

    Knobler has no doubt heard from 50 fans blasting Leyland about Perez. Meanwhile, unlike the rest of us, Knobler also gets to observe firsthand how Leyland runs the clubhouse. Compared to how things were under previous managers, I’m sure Knobler is inclined to give Leyland the benefit of the doubt.

  3. Walter

    October 11, 2006 at 10:36 am

    Bill, another great job posting all sides to the game one story. Looking at the contrast between A’s bloggers and Tigers’ bloggers is great. But then comparing newspaper coverage between Detroit and San Francisco is even better. Once again, your well-rounded format is the pick among all bloggers covering the ALCS on Baseball Nooz.

    We appreciate your work,
    Walter Roark (editor)
    http://www.baseballnooz.com/
    (All baseball, all the time—over
    220 blog feeds + news sources)

  4. Lee Panas

    October 11, 2006 at 10:43 am

    It’s ok for Knobler to give Leyland the benefit of the doubt but he should give some reasons for the decision as you just did. Knobler has gotten to the point of laughing at anyone who dares question Leyland.

    That being said, I think Infante is significantly better than Perez. Perez might be a slighly better fielder but he is not the gold glover that he once was. His glove is no longer good enough to carry his useless bat.

  5. Greg

    October 11, 2006 at 11:14 am

    I don’t think Perez is a better fielder. And we all agree Omar’s the better hitter (because something is better than nothing). I’m really annoyed by JL doing this.

  6. Kurt

    October 11, 2006 at 11:16 am

    I think if you got assulted by the folks at MLive you’d get a little condenscending, too. Not that he should, he should try to be above it, but I bet it’s annoying.

    Frankly I think I’d rather see Neifi at first and Guillen at SS! Leyland can say what he wants, but letting your first baseman’s injury break up your double-play combination doesn’t strike me as a very good thing. And that is why the Tigers needed Shelton, who needs a designated hitter of his own.

  7. Lee Panas

    October 11, 2006 at 11:29 am

    Kurt, no doubt some of the mlivers are annoying. I understand Knobler’s frustration with them I just think a beat writer should use a more understaning tone with his audience even when he’s blogging.

    Anyway, I agree with you on Shelton. He should be on the roster over Santiago. There is no need for 3 middle infielders and they could use Shelton right now. Even when slumping, he’s a better hitter than Perez and he’s a better first baeman than Guillen

  8. Kyle J

    October 11, 2006 at 11:45 am

    Agree with both Kurt and Lee.

    Fans overreact to things. Knobler is overreacting to the fans. The overreaction is understandable, but he should be held to a higher standard as a professional journalist and tone his reaction down a bit.

    Definitely agree that Shelton should have been on the roster. No one could have predicted the injury, but you do have to account for the possibility. Plus the only reason I could have imagined for including three back-up infielders on the postseason roster was to have pinch runners late in close games. In that case, the most likely candidate to be pinch run for was Casey–so you’d still need a back-up first basemen.

    The only thing that irks me is hearing fans focus soley on the 5% of Leyland’s decisions that have been questionable, while ignoring the 95% of things that have gone well this season. I suspect we’ll hear less of that now with the Tigers on a four-game postseason winning streak.

  9. Kyle J

    October 11, 2006 at 12:11 pm

    Happy thought: A week ago (Oct. 4), BP said our odds of winning the World Series were 7 percent. Today, they say our odds are 38 percent.

    http://www.baseballprospectus......onodds.php

  10. NR

    October 11, 2006 at 12:34 pm

    Maybe there is still hope –

    “I’m going to play it by ear,” manager Jim Leyland said of his first-base options. “We’ll have to go with the combination of Ramon Santiago and Omar Infante and Carlos Guillen at first base, and we’ll have to get through it the best we can.”

    Notice the absence of a certain rotund baseball black hole’s name in that statement.

  11. T Smith

    October 11, 2006 at 4:16 pm

    I know there is absolutely no sound reason for this, but still, there is something so synonomous with “Neifi Perez” and “Rally Killer” that I cringe going into a four game run with him in the lineup. Again, I’m usually much more analytical and objective about these things; but even being objective, we’re forced to concede a huge hole in the lineup and average defense.

    I know we keep posting his NL numbers (.260 hitter)…can somebody post all his numbers with the Tigers this year, including OBP, slugging %, RISP, etc..?

  12. Jeff

    October 11, 2006 at 4:30 pm

    With the Tigers Perez checked in with .200/.235/.215 (one lone double and 3 walks). Very small sample size of course (65 at-bats), so it’s safe to say that’s the low end of his ability.

    For the season he’s .243/.260/.316, for a nifty .576 OPS. 8 walks in over 300 plate appearances.

    Career-wise he’s .268/.298/.376, .674 OPS. One walk for every 22 or so at-bats.

  13. jim-mt

    October 11, 2006 at 4:33 pm

    Nefei hasn’t been charged with any errors, but that is mostly because he doesn’t have any range and his fielding mistakes seem to end up as infield hits.

  14. Jeff M

    October 11, 2006 at 4:34 pm

    “We’ll have to go with the combination of Ramon Santiago and Omar Infante and Carlos Guillen at first base…”

    Notice the absence of a certain rotund baseball black hole’s name in that statement.

    That’s cuz Neifi will be playing shortstop. He only mentioned Santiago and Infante because they will fill in for Guillen when Guillen gets a day off.

    Just kidding. 🙂
    I hope.

  15. T Smith

    October 11, 2006 at 4:57 pm

    Just over the wire

    Cory Lidle was killed in a plane crash into a building in NYC…

    Horrible. Heard an interview with him on WFAN…He was a very likable guy.

  16. Ajax

    October 11, 2006 at 7:16 pm

    don’t be shocked when Neifi Perez comes up with a huge game. he might not homer but i bet he has at least one huge hit in the game. somehow i can’t doubt Leyland here. Neifi is just as much a Tiger as any of our other Tigers! granted, he has not done much at all since becoming a Tiger, but there is always a reason for things. Im sure that when called upon Perez will come through. GO NEIFI! GO TIGERS!

  17. T Smith

    October 11, 2006 at 11:18 pm

    Ajax,

    That’s exactly what I thought when I saw Gomez in the lineup…I had a good feeling about that and thought it was a pretty decent risk on Leyland’s part. And of course, Gomez may be the player who ends up being the difference in the Tiger “W”, (If we can keep this lead), so Leyland’s Midas touch certainly seems to be working thus far in the post season.

    As for Perez, the problem I have with him is not necessarily his perpetual 0-4 nights; it’s just he never seems to even get good outs. He barely makes contact on the ball, his swings look horrible, I have absolutely no confidence in his hitting ability. At least he had one chance to move Grandy to second.

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