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 thoughts on “ALCS Game 1”

  1. 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. 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.

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

    -Sam

  4. 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????????????

  5. 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…

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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!!!

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

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

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

  13. 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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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. 🙂

  17. 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.

  18. 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?

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

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

  21. 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!

  22. 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

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

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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…

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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?

  32. 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

  33. 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

  34. 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.

  35. 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!!!

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. 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

  39. 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.

  40. 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?

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

  42. 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???

  43. 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.

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