ALCS Game 1

PREGAME: It’s 1972 all over again as the A’s and Tigers hook up in the American League Championship Series. Tonight will feature Nate Robertson taking on Barry Zito and his curveball of doom.

Nate lasted 7 innings in each of his 2 starts against the A’s this year. In one game he surrendered 5 runs on 7 hits and 4 walks while taking the loss. In the other he surrendered 4 runs on 5 hits and no walks.

Barry Zito only faced the Tigers once this year and held them to a single run before his bullpen let him down by surrendering 3 runs in the 9th inning. Brandon Inge, Craig Monroe, and Magglio Ordonez are a combined 8 for 66 off of Zito. Fortunately Placido Polanco and Pudge Rodriguez don’t seem to be at all bothered by him.

The umpiring match-up – yes the umpiring match-up – would seem to favor the A’s. Homeplate umpire Jerry Crawford’s games have seen an ERA substantially higher than the league average and there tend to be more walks in his games. This would seem to favor the more patient team. (Hat tip Knuckle Curve)

And because this doesn’t fit anywhere else, Placido Polanco turns 31 today. (funnily enough, Ramon Martinez who was part of the trade to acquire Polanco from the Phillies has the same birthday)

Detroit Lineup

CF – Granderson
2B – Polanco
1B – Casey
RF – Ordonez
SS – Guillen
C – Rodriguez
LF – Monroe
DH – Thames
3B – Inge

Oakland Lineup

C – Kendall
CF – Kotsay
RF – Bradley
DH – Thomas
LF – Payton
3B – Chavez
1B – Swisher
SS – Scutaro
2B – Jimenez

Game Time 8:19

POSTGAME: One of baseball’s least patient teams took on one of baseball’s most patient teams. Yet it was the Tigers who found themselves regularly in hitters counts and full counts forcing Barry Zito out in the 4th inning. The Tigers made it all the way through the lineup the first time with every hitter seeing at least 4 pitches. Granted, it was a tight strike zone and Zito got a raw deal on a full count pitch to Polanco. But Nate Robertson was working with the same strike zone and didn’t reach his first 3 ball count until the third inning.

Robertson picked up where Kenny Rogers and Jeremy Bonderman left off and he attacked the strike zone. That wasn’t to say it was an easy go. Once again, started and failed to make it through a single inning without pitching from the stretch. And for what seems like the 6th or 7th time this season Nate Robertson put a man on third with nobody out and pitched out of it.

Now the Tigers did quite a bit right. They had a great approach at the plate, they played solid defense, and took advantage of their opportunities. Some of those opportunities were gift wrapped by the A’s. They didn’t field the ball particularly well and hit into 4 double plays.

The end result is the Tigers take an early 1-0 lead in the series and pick-up homefield advantage in the series. It also shows that Leyland must have known something by starting Robertson.

94 Comments

  1. Ryan Armbrust

    October 10, 2006 at 7:39 pm

    Thanks for the link. I’m not too excited about Crawford calling the game. Whether it helps the A’s more or not, I don’t like to see an umpire that far off of the norm.

    I’m an A’s fan, but I’ve got a lot of respect for what the Tigers have done this year.

    Here’s hoping for a clean, fun series, full of good baseball. It’s refreshing to have a postseason free of the Yankees and Red Sox, isn’t it?

  2. david V

    October 10, 2006 at 8:24 pm

    Ohhhhhhhh, Polanco almost parked one on Barry Cer0

  3. Joey C.

    October 10, 2006 at 8:39 pm

    It will be extra-refreshing to see one without the Athletics too.

    Classic Nate there in the 1st inning. Let’s a couple on, but doesn’t make you feel that he’s going to let them score.

  4. Sam

    October 10, 2006 at 8:41 pm

    Do you think that the Announcers can at least figure out that Ordonez signed before the 2005 season (not 2004 as they stated).

    -Sam

  5. david V

    October 10, 2006 at 8:47 pm

    Hey Sam, It’s lou piniella, What do you expect from someone the yankees wanna hire!!!!

  6. Shawn in Tokyo

    October 10, 2006 at 9:01 pm

    Awesome, taking it to Zito now…has over 50 pitches in already!

  7. Steve

    October 10, 2006 at 9:10 pm

    Did anyone notice how many open seats in the upper deck there are. I know the game started at 5:00 local, but boy who would want a tick to a playoff game and burn a vacation day????????????

  8. PHT in HK

    October 10, 2006 at 9:12 pm

    The morning seems to be off to a good start!

  9. Pete

    October 10, 2006 at 9:15 pm

    69 pitches through three innings for Zito.

    This is a good Oakland team and I respect them, but I have to say there are only two guys in their lineup that really scare me: Thomas and Swisher. Chavez maybe, but he hit .241 this year. They have a bunch of guys (Kendall, Kotsay, Payton, Scutaro, Jimenez) who really don’t bring much to the table offensively.

    If we can get this game against their best pitcher, we will be in great shape for this series.

    OK, this was a pretty pointless comment. Just want to let everyone know I’m here…

  10. billfer

    October 10, 2006 at 9:23 pm

    How about those impatient Tigers? Granderson’s 2nd at-bat was the first in which a Tiger hitter didn’t see at least 4 pitches. Six of the first 14 plate appearances resulted in full counts.

    Part of that is Zito, but credit the Tigers for not swinging at the bad stuff.

    In all fairness, Zito was squeezed on that last pitch to Polanco in the 3rd and it cost him. It prolonged the inning resulting in the second run and 13 additional pitches

  11. Shawn in Tokyo

    October 10, 2006 at 9:25 pm

    PUDGE!!!

  12. Steve

    October 10, 2006 at 9:27 pm

    Pete, really a fine point, nice to see your in and would you care to update us on Neifi for Perezident or how about Neifi for manager of the Yankees, could be the first player manager in a while 😉

    Oh by the way, outstanding game, these are the type of games I remember in May and June

    IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIInge hit for stank on the Yanks but is mashing now

  13. Shawn in Tokyo

    October 10, 2006 at 9:28 pm

    INGE!!!

  14. Shawn in Tokyo

    October 10, 2006 at 9:31 pm

    I need a beer here at the office, this is grrrrrreat! 🙂

  15. david V

    October 10, 2006 at 9:32 pm

    Is it me or are the Tigers puttin’ a whoopin’ on em’

  16. Shawn in Tokyo

    October 10, 2006 at 9:32 pm

    Zito~~~~ Sayonara~~~~!!!

  17. PHT in HK

    October 10, 2006 at 9:33 pm

    Into the pen already. This looks like it could be the beginning of a great series.

  18. Travis

    October 10, 2006 at 9:38 pm

    What’s the skinny on their pen?

  19. david V

    October 10, 2006 at 9:38 pm

    dee-fence dee-fence!

  20. Andy

    October 10, 2006 at 9:38 pm

    there was a tiger that had a game and brandon was his name-o…..B I N G E, B I N G E, B I N G E and brandon was his name-o

    feel free to sing along…….go tigers!!!

  21. Ken from Jersey

    October 10, 2006 at 9:39 pm

    Just a note about the empty seats in the upper deck; I read the A’s closed the upper deck this year to make the ball park more intimate and create more buzz for tickets.

    This announcing team is brutal. They said Zito was throwing strikes merely because he’d retired a bunch of guys in a row to start the game. But just prior to the comment, they showed a graphic where he had like 19 balls and 21 or 22 strikes. It wasn’t until the Tigers put 4 runs on the board before anyone noticed they were taking pitches.

    Also, Pudge batted leadoff 4 games this year. Good job of research in prep for the game as Lou declared he can’t even imagine a catcher other than Kendall getting the chance to hit No. 1.

  22. Steve

    October 10, 2006 at 9:39 pm

    I like October ball …………….., but lets remember guys we have to play all nine innings of this game and win four to move on, The Yankees won the first and then got smacked. I will admit is is good to see the guys come out firing and doing well. I was just thinking how awful we all felt last week at this time, just losing to K/C and down to the Yankees. But know we are all happy and giddy.

  23. david V

    October 10, 2006 at 9:43 pm

    Just havin’ some fun early for a change. I think we all know it’s not gonna be easy! Give me Joe Buck anyday!!!

  24. Steve

    October 10, 2006 at 9:45 pm

    I saw Vance in the Pen, is that the usual deal or just because its an open pen?

  25. Ken from Jersey

    October 10, 2006 at 9:53 pm

    Leyland said to strike out the next 3 guys. Nate was hitting 95 and got 96 on the last K. A little pumped?

  26. david V

    October 10, 2006 at 9:53 pm

    Unfreakin’ believable !! Triple K’s!!!1

  27. Steve

    October 10, 2006 at 9:53 pm

    Nate “The Man” Robertson youve got to be kidding me that ws sweet

  28. billfer

    October 10, 2006 at 9:54 pm

    Nate has done that at least half a dozen times this year. Getting a man on 3rd with no outs and somehow escaping. Incredible. He’s attacking the strike zone just like Kenny and Bonderman did. Friggin Awesome!

  29. PHT in HK

    October 10, 2006 at 9:56 pm

    Way to bounce back!

  30. billfer

    October 10, 2006 at 9:56 pm

    When I went to Baltimore I decided to keep score. I hadn’t done it in years. Since then, I kept score at the last couple games I went to, and I’m keeping score to night. I forgot how much I enjoyed it.

  31. Ken from Jersey

    October 10, 2006 at 9:59 pm

    Keeping score is a lost art, and that’s too bad. I do it once in a while at games, and it’s amazing how it really keeps you in the game. And it’s fun to be able to refer back to your scorecard.

  32. JML (aka Jim L)

    October 10, 2006 at 10:03 pm

    Hm, I’ve been reading the comments at an A’s blog (those one Billfer linked, that not-too-surprisingly gave Oakland the edge in the series) and all the people there seem to do is insult Nate (about his looks) and the umps. Nasty. I like the atmosphere a lot more here. 🙂

  33. Ken from Jersey

    October 10, 2006 at 10:05 pm

    Oakland’s put the leadoff man on four times tonight. Thank goodness it’s 5-0, otherwise this would be troubling. It still might be.

  34. david V

    October 10, 2006 at 10:06 pm

    Weren’t the yankees eliminated? Will they ever shut up?

  35. Steve

    October 10, 2006 at 10:10 pm

    So last inning it was 3 K’s and this inning its a DP and a mint catch, what in the world are we in store for coming next?

  36. Travis

    October 10, 2006 at 10:10 pm

    C-MOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

  37. Joey C.

    October 10, 2006 at 10:12 pm

    Great, great catch by Monroe. Flyball outs don’t get any closer to the ground than that.

  38. david V

    October 10, 2006 at 10:19 pm

    Ganderson?

  39. Steve

    October 10, 2006 at 10:26 pm

    Rodney ?

  40. Joey C.

    October 10, 2006 at 10:27 pm

    Wow. Where’s Shelton?

    I can’t believe that our worst fears have been realized.

  41. Steve

    October 10, 2006 at 10:28 pm

    Now what Casey is gone, Shelton Wednesday

  42. JML

    October 10, 2006 at 10:30 pm

    OUCH!!! That hurt just to look at it! Eeek. I’ll miss ya, Casey….

  43. billfer

    October 10, 2006 at 10:31 pm

    Ummm guys – Shelton isn’t on the playoff roster. Your new first baseman for the remainder of the series is Carlos Guillen.

  44. Josh B

    October 10, 2006 at 10:32 pm

    maybe leyland will have neifi play first base…we are also without a natural replacement in the 3 hole. hmm…..

  45. Sam

    October 10, 2006 at 10:33 pm

    This Umpire is Horrible!

    -Sam

  46. billfer

    October 10, 2006 at 10:35 pm

    That gun has to be 3-4 mph fast. Zumaya will hit 106 if he comes in.

  47. Johnny Strange

    October 10, 2006 at 10:39 pm

    99 problems, getting men out ain’t one! Good job Feeeeeerrrrnnnaannnddooo!!

    I went into tonight so relaxed. I couldn’t imagine that winning this series could feel better than beating the Wankees. But this feels pretty good!

  48. Jojo SunDevil

    October 10, 2006 at 10:39 pm

    I think if Casey were to be deactivated for the remainder of the series, that the Tigers could activate Shelton.

    So far so good, I like the idea of goin to the bullpen

  49. Sam

    October 10, 2006 at 10:40 pm

    Can’t make any roster moves during a series. They are stuck with no true 1B.

  50. Ken from Jersey

    October 10, 2006 at 10:40 pm

    Any chance we see Pudge at first and Wilson behind the plate at some point if Casey can’t come back?

  51. PHT in HK

    October 10, 2006 at 10:40 pm

    What happened to Casey? I can’t watch or listen to the game and am only following it on ESPN.com.

  52. Sam

    October 10, 2006 at 10:40 pm

    I agree bringing in Santiago. He is the best Defensive SS on the bench.

    -Sam

  53. Steve

    October 10, 2006 at 10:40 pm

    Does anyine know why Leyland would play Santiago instead of Perez? It cant be to PH later. Santiago hasnt played since the all star break (jk) and it seemed like Leyland played Neifi a lot with Pulanco out. You could also insert Infante, not sure what the deal is?

    Billfer, good catch on the Sheltonizer.

  54. Sam

    October 10, 2006 at 10:41 pm

    Looks like a severly pulled (maybe torn) calf musle.

    -Sam

  55. Jeff M

    October 10, 2006 at 10:41 pm

    I agree billfer. it’s definitely fast. And for the record, a 7mph differential between a fastball and changeup sucks. Piniella is the only one with a clue.

  56. Sam

    October 10, 2006 at 10:42 pm

    Crawford bad both ways. Does not punch anyone out. Why would this guy be behind the plate?

    -Sam

  57. Mark

    October 10, 2006 at 10:47 pm

    Guys, you think Leyland brings in Zoom tonight, or does he trust this 5 run lead with some of the other bullpen guys?

    I do not want to use Zumaya unless he is needed. I have a feeling we’ll need some shutdown innings later in this series.

  58. Steve

    October 10, 2006 at 10:51 pm

    How about cheese or Miner? to wrap it up?

  59. Mark

    October 10, 2006 at 10:51 pm

    The latest on Casey – calf spasm

    Perhaps day-to-day. Per FOX broadcast.

  60. Ken from Jersey

    October 10, 2006 at 10:52 pm

    If the Yankees series was any indication, Leyland will use Zoom and Jones no matter what the lead is. But I agree I’d rather hold off as long as possible.

  61. Steve

    October 10, 2006 at 10:53 pm

    Does Pudge hit third if Casey is out?

  62. Phil

    October 10, 2006 at 10:57 pm

    I’d be interested to other Casey at bats from that angle. He hops around a lot after swings and I bet there is always a lot of wierd pant movement when the camera is slowed down like that. It did look bad though…

  63. Steve

    October 10, 2006 at 11:00 pm

    Mark, good question, No way Rodney goes past 7 here. Its got to be Miner Or Ledezma, Maybe they save Cheese for a LR stint.

  64. Steve

    October 10, 2006 at 11:02 pm

    Wow Z is up

  65. Phil

    October 10, 2006 at 11:04 pm

    Forgive my ignorance, who is cheese?

  66. Phil

    October 10, 2006 at 11:05 pm

    Grilli? As in Grilled cheese?
    Great double play.

  67. Ken from Jersey

    October 10, 2006 at 11:06 pm

    The DP is no longer our pitchers’ best friend. It’s their lover.

  68. Pete

    October 10, 2006 at 11:07 pm

    Where the hell is NEIFI? Our first baseman gets hurt, our shortstop moves to first, we need a backup shortstop . . . hello??? It’s almost as if Leyland is going out of his way NOT to play Neifi. Imagine that!

    In all seriousness, I really hope Casey is OK. He has played great in the postseason so far, and we don’t have any other first basemen. I don’t really want Santiago or Perez playing the rest of the way.

    Andy — love the B-I-N-G-E song.

  69. Mark

    October 10, 2006 at 11:08 pm

    The DP’s are getting absolutely ridiculous.

    Obviously I’m loving them, though.

    Inge needs a 3 bagger for the cycle. That would be a nice way to start off the inning, eh?

  70. Johnny Strange

    October 10, 2006 at 11:08 pm

    Obviously not THAT good.

  71. Steve

    October 10, 2006 at 11:08 pm

    Yes, A while back they had Lamont mic’d and that is what he called him when they made a call to the pen for him to get warm it was something like get Walker and Cheese warm.

    Oakland is chewing threw pitchers as well tonight

  72. Johnny Strange

    October 10, 2006 at 11:10 pm

    Chee-ee-eez! Didn’t we throw you in a dumpster?

  73. Steve

    October 10, 2006 at 11:15 pm

    I am really racking my brain, why would Jim bring in Z. He seems so good before Jones and this game is cruzing along, We may need an arm Wed nite, Z looks like he will go two here. I am not complaining just wondering how Leyland made this decision

  74. Mark

    October 10, 2006 at 11:17 pm

    And Bradley hits a double.

    Same ole same ole in this game. Let’s extend that A’s hitless streak with RISP.

  75. Jojo SunDevil

    October 10, 2006 at 11:18 pm

    They just aired that commercial when A-Rod is driving the truck and they say he has a career in the beverage distribution business. LOL

    Yea, its startin to look like that.

  76. Mark

    October 10, 2006 at 11:19 pm

    I thought the same thing about the A-Rod commercial.

    Get this out Joel.

  77. Phil

    October 10, 2006 at 11:21 pm

    Pinella is the only guy on the TV who knows what he’s talking about.

  78. Phil

    October 10, 2006 at 11:23 pm

    Great grab Grandy!

  79. Ken from Jersey

    October 10, 2006 at 11:24 pm

    For a 5-1 game, this sure has been an adventure.

  80. Sam

    October 10, 2006 at 11:26 pm

    Key to the Tigers Success this year:

    Save Guillen’s embarassing error at 1B, how about the leather the Kitty’s are flashing tonight!!! Inge for the 2nd out of the 8th (assist to Zoom-Zoom) and Granderson against the wall for the last out!!!

  81. Jeff

    October 10, 2006 at 11:26 pm

    I haven’t felt comfortable about this game from the 5-0 lead onward. At least we’re down to 3 outs left and a 4-run lead.

  82. Ken from Jersey

    October 10, 2006 at 11:30 pm

    Here is why I think Leyland brought in Zumaya. He’s only pitched one-third of an inning in the last four days. He had the heart of the A’s order coming up and he’s got an off day on Thursday. So I’m guessing he thinks he can still bring Zumaya back Wednesday for an inning.

  83. Sam

    October 10, 2006 at 11:30 pm

    This is the post season!!! You do not trust the Cheese or Miner with any lead. Leyland is right to use Zoom-Zoom and Jones. Everyone can rest in the off season.

    -Sam

  84. Ken from Jersey

    October 10, 2006 at 11:35 pm

    Agreed. This is the same formula Leyland displayed vs. the Yanks. The lead doesn’t matter, he’s bringing in the top guns to close them out. Hopefully.

  85. Phil

    October 10, 2006 at 11:37 pm

    Rollercoaster

  86. Phil

    October 10, 2006 at 11:40 pm

    Polly is so smart

  87. Ken from Jersey

    October 10, 2006 at 11:43 pm

    And very likeable, too.

  88. Joey C.

    October 11, 2006 at 12:02 am

    I know Shelton isn’t on the roster. Hence, “our worst fears” being realized.

    However, can we call someone up if we make it to the World Series?

  89. Jeff

    October 11, 2006 at 12:03 am

    It’s nice that ESPN led off with Yankees news rather than game coverage. Do they even know how ridiculous they look?

  90. Kyle J

    October 11, 2006 at 12:27 am

    Joey: Yes, they can (and I’m sure will) put Shelton on the roster if they advance to the WS.

  91. ron

    October 11, 2006 at 12:55 am

    One down, seven to go.Bring on the stinkin’ Mets.

  92. Cameron in Singapore

    October 11, 2006 at 1:03 am

    Great game Tigers! Everything went our way. This was the game where the pitching matchup seemed to favor Oakland, I love our chances against Loaiza tomorrow.
    Really too bad about Casey though. Why why why were Santiago/Perez on the playoff roster instead of Shelton???

  93. Mark in SF

    October 11, 2006 at 1:18 am

    Hey Everybody,

    Well, I was at the game tonight and it was terrific. The Coliseum was tame the entire game — you could feel the place waiting to erupt, and every inning there was a double play or a spectacular grab that just punched the whole crowd in the gut. Except for me, of course — I nearly lost my voice yelling. I even had a friend FedEx a Tigers jersey to me so that I could represent Motown properly from the second row of the upper deck!

    From where I was sitting, the ump called a terrible game. Not surprisingly, everyone around me agreed, too. Billfer was certainly sound in his prediction that the small zone would favor the A’s, but hooray that it ended up giving the Tigers a boost.

    A fun story — on the way back, I took the commuter rail and the car I was in was so packed with rowdy Tigers fans that nearly everyone else left in search of a more Oakland-friendly car.

  94. Pingback: All Things Michigan