Game 1: The Day After

Yes the Yankees lineup is formidable, but if you look at the final box score you see a Tiger team that nearly matched them hit for hit. The Yankees posted 14 hits, 5 for extra bases including 2 homers. The Tigers banged out 12 hits, 7 for extra bases including 2 homers. The difference tonight was execution.

The Tigers couldn’t execute a hit and run and shot themselves in the foot. While the hit and run was questionable with Ordonez as the lead runner, given Wang’s extreme ground ball tendencies it wasn’t an awful call. The problem was the swing and miss.

Nate Robertson couldn’t field 2 different comebackers (Brandon Inge picked him up on the 2nd) and the first one led to the big inning.

The Tigers had their chances but weren’t able to capitalize often enough.

I’m not saying this loss was bad luck or anything of the sort. The Tigers were beat. But they weren’t outslugged. They weren’t scared. They weren’t playing like a team that was just swept by the Royals. I’m encouraged. The Tigers deserve to be here and they played like it.

Other thoughts on the game

Lynn Henning

The Yankees won it because they put together quick scoring blitzes the Tigers can’t match, which is what happened when they popped Nate Robertson for five runs and six consecutive hits in the third. The Tigers have too many soft spots in their batting order to blow up a game the way New York can. One inning, six batters, and the Yankees put away a ballgame.

Danny Knobler

“Now, we’re experienced,” pitcher Nate Robertson proclaimed with a smile Tuesday night.

That’s fine, but one game into their first playoff series in 19 years, the Detroit Tigers are also one game down. They weren’t embarrassed in Tuesday night’s 8-4 loss to the New York Yankees, but could they really come away encouraged after a game where the Yankee lineup looked every bit as good as advertised?

WasWatching.com: October 3rd vs. The Tigers

Lastly, the Tigers did not look scared or tense tonight. They sure did not look like a team that just choked up a division. I expect them to show up tomorrow and play tough. The Yankees should expect that as well.

Replacement Level Yankees Weblog

This game showed me a few things. One, Detroit’s not intimidated by the Yankees and this series will not be easy. Two, the Yankee bullpen is a scary thing. Three, the Yankee offense can explode at any time. Four, Gary Sheffield made a really nice stretch on a low throw in the early innings. He doesn’t look smooth at first, but he’s looking more and more capable.

Detroit Tiger Tales

I’m trying to stay optimistic but the Yankees line-up is amazing. It’s literally an all-star line-up from top to bottom, perhaps the best line-up in the history of the game when all are healthy. They are an incredibly well disciplined team. It seems like they never swing at a bad pitch and when you give them something to hit they hit a line drive. It’s quite a contrast to the free swinging Tigers.

MICHAEL ROSENBERG: Tigers haven’t shaken late-season woes

Much has been made of the Tigers’ inexperience on the big stage. But as Leyland often says, he’ll take talent over experience. And in this series, maybe that debate is moot. The Yankees have more of both.

New York Daily News – Baseball – Bill Madden: Detroit’s slip showing

At least they showed they weren’t awed by Yankee Stadium and all its aura this time of year. But, in the end, they were unable to contain that lineup. Once again, we saw hints of a Yankee pitching staff that is beatable, and it would appear if they are to fulfill The Boss’ mandate of nothing short of a world championship, the Bombers are going to have to bludgeon their way to it.

24 Comments

  1. Walter

    October 4, 2006 at 10:40 am

    Bill, I like the way you rounded up everybody’s opinion today on Game 1. Nice work. Verlander has great stuff so maybe he can quiet the Bomber bats tonight. I thought Detroit looked pretty good last night…the game was closer than the score reflects.

    Anyway, your post is front-and-center today on our main news page.

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

  2. Scott

    October 4, 2006 at 12:15 pm

    I would agree, Bill, the Tigers were beat. But a few things from the game really ticked me off:

    1. Nate Robertson got squeezed on the strikezone, particularly against Jeter. I believe it was Jeter’s second AB, Nate had him 0-2 and then threw two strikes that were called balls. He should have rung up. It seemed like that ump wasn’t going to call anything but a meatball a strike.

    2. Why in the world didn’t Leyland bring it Waker to face Abreu in the sixth inning? Two men on, two men out. Nate was obviously spent and Abreu already had a hit off of him. Isn’t that what a guy like Walker is here for … to get a key lefty out? It’s almost as if Leyland was saying, “Nate, you’re the sacrificial lamb tonight. You’ve got to go 6 to rest the bullpen.”

    3. I don’t want Casey batting third! I know he came through with an RBI hit, but I think Guillen is a better option at 3. Why not move Monroe up to 5th? The guy has knocked in 90 runs the past two seasons.

    4. Pudge looked awful at the plate.

    5. Yuck the Fankees!

  3. Kurt

    October 4, 2006 at 12:20 pm

    I agree on points 2 and 4. And 5. And 3. I didn’t see much of the game itself or I’d probably agree on point 1.

    But points 3 and 4 interact don’t they? You’d have to exchange Casey for Pudge pretty much. I guess Monroe batted third a few times but I don’t think it’s his natural spot.

    And Bilfer, which Deadspin lookin in on your every postseason reaction, don’t say anything stupid! ;) No pressure or anything!

  4. Coach Jim

    October 4, 2006 at 12:44 pm

    I still have to cling to my REVERSE LOCK theory. Mussina will bear down tonight and should have an easy time throwing a shutout against the Tigers. Sometimes the kitties can look just plain clueless at the plate. Verlander has a tendency to throw 5 out of 6 shutout innings, but he’ll give up 5 runs in that one bad inning.

    With that said (and here’s the reverse lock part), I like our chances.

    ==========

    I’m sure everyone winced when Polanco ALMOST got that ball late in the game. He’s hurting and it shows. His on-field performance probably won’t suffer. I wish there was some award we could give these guys for sticking it out like that. I think 7 of our starters are playing with injuries that would have benched them on a team not in a pennant chase.

    ==========

    Regular season note:
    Guillen’s hamstring stole that 1 HR from him that kept him from finishing with 20 HR and 20 SB. Did anyone notice he scored 100 runs batting 5th all year? With only 85 RBI though, it shows the top of this lineup need to improve their OBP. I am also VERY impressed by .320/.400/.519. SALUTE! And hats off to DD for the trade that brought him here.

  5. Dan

    October 4, 2006 at 1:14 pm

    The hit-and-run is a dumb call. Billfer, you don’t know what you’re talking about.

  6. Chris Y.

    October 4, 2006 at 1:14 pm

    Pretty much agree Scott, though I would argue he could have been yanked (pun intended) a batter earlier when Jeter came up standing 2 for 2. I would have gone with Grilli then had Walker face Abreu and pitch into the 6th, something like that.

    The strike zone was not consistent last night and he was definitely forcing Nate over the plate. Not only did Nate not the K on Jeter when he should have, but he had to throw two strike 3s to get McClellan to finally punch out A-Rod.

    And you are right, Pudge was awful at the plate last night.

  7. cc

    October 4, 2006 at 1:29 pm

    I kinda agree with the consensus, the Tigers played pretty well but got beaten, but they didn’t give up. Win tonight and it’s a best-of-three.

    I’m realistic, however. There’s $190 million worth of talent in the Yankee dugout. It’s scary. But it’s the same group that was up 3-0 on the Red Sox in 2004, I was thinking last night.

  8. Dan

    October 4, 2006 at 1:32 pm

    What is all of this talk about “giving up”? So, do you see a lot of baseball teams giving up? It’s insulting.

  9. Steve

    October 4, 2006 at 2:05 pm

    Hey Dan you know what, YOU ARE INSULTING. Why dont you take the hint that you have been thrown off this site for berating everything and everyone and go away. You need serious help my man and its not from this site. It must come from a professional shrink. I and everyone else here have been patient with you and your behavior. If you can not or will not act decently, really beat it. We all live in a world where we respect each other and treat each other fairly and decently. You seem not to want to do this, for some unknown reason.

    Later

  10. Dan

    October 4, 2006 at 2:11 pm

    Whatever, Steve. People go around insulting baseball players with this crap all the time, and I’m defending them.

    Look, baseball players wouldn’t be where they are if they had a tendency to “give up”. Anyone who suggests that ballplayers have a tendency to quit during baseball games does not understand the business. Go to a meaningless, late-season game between the Brewers and the Pirates, and you’ll see what I mean.

    It does not contribute anything whatsoever to the discussion to talk about how the team “didn’t give up”. Of course they didn’t give. Either way, it has nothing to do with why they lost.

    I’m not quite quite sure why you find my latest comment insulting, byu the way. I was simply defending baseball players.

  11. Ryan S

    October 4, 2006 at 2:12 pm

    Dan – I think what people are talking about here concerning “giving up” has more to do with experience and confidence. While I wouldn’t say you see a lot of baseball teams give up, I would say that a lot of unexperienced teams (like the Tigers) would be prone to get a sort of deer-in-the-headlights look to them in the situation they’re in. When that spooked look sets in, it usually plays out as if they’ve given up (ie – they can’t get anything going). The Tigers did not have that last night. They looked like they belonged there and didn’t back down, even after giving up the 5 spot in the third. Sure they came up short, but I think most of us felt encouraged that the Yankees, while formidable, are not unbeatable for this Tiger team.

  12. EZ

    October 4, 2006 at 2:16 pm

    The hit and run worked to perfection for Torre last night. Damon, after one of his patented limp wristed infield hits, is on the run and Jeter lines a ball to the precise location of where Guillen would normally be playing. But Guillen is on the move to cover the bag and the liner goes for a “hussle” double setting the table for a 5 run Yankee inning, leaving runners on second and third with no one out, instead of having one on and one out (or possible getting Damon doubled off at first). Leyland tried this and Wang threw one of his best sinkers of the night. Sometimes this happens. However, at that point the score should have been 1-0 (or more) Tigers. If Inge doesn’t inexplicably pull a 96 mile per hour fast ball, at the knees, on the outside of the plate to A-Rod at 3rd freaking base on a weak two hopper, then the runner on first does advances to second. Granderson’s subsequent base hit the following plate appearance isn’t nullified because Inge had no approach going into his at-bat. Did Inge even realize Sheffield was playing firstbase? Inge HAS to move that runner to second. 96 mhp at the knee’s on the outside “black” of the plate has to be pushed to the right. Particularly when you have a completely inexperienced player playing first base. Leyland was trying to jump start an inning and just missed. Torre jump started an inning and a dubious strike zone by the home plate ump let the Yanks tee off with Robertson continually having a runner in scoring position.

  13. Joey the K

    October 4, 2006 at 2:23 pm

    Oh brother, dan is back. Leyland said this series would be a “second guessers dream”, looks like he was right so far.

    I totally agree on that Jeter AB, I thought he was out on pitch 3 and then again on pitch 4! I usually don’t mind Jeter, but man I hated him last night.

  14. Kyle J

    October 4, 2006 at 2:31 pm

    “But it’s the same group that was up 3-0 on the Red Sox in 2004, I was thinking last night.”

    Sadly, this isn’t true. Damon, Abreu, Giambi, and Cano are a pretty big upgrade from Bernie Williams, Tony Clark, Kenny Lofton, and Miguel Cairo. Don’t get me wrong, I think the Tigers still have a great shot at taking the series if Verlander comes through tonight. But the Yankees have achieved a level of payroll/lineup dominance previously unknown to even them.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/boxscore?gid=241020110

  15. EZ

    October 4, 2006 at 2:39 pm

    When the Evil Empire has A-Rod batting 6th…. Yikes. That is a good lineup. We need to get to Mussina early (if only I was in NY I would give him an Old Fashioned Nancy Kerrigan treatment) and hopefully rip the middle relievers. Also, isn’t Rivera due for a let down one of these decades?

  16. Adam

    October 4, 2006 at 3:23 pm

    Kinda happy the Twins are losing again. Hehe.

  17. cc

    October 4, 2006 at 3:41 pm

    Dan,

    Have I seen baseball teams give up? Yes. I live in Kansas City. That should answer your question.

  18. cc

    October 4, 2006 at 3:47 pm

    also, Kyle, you’re right, but I was speaking in the sense of the Yankees always have atomic weapons at their disposal (and a large payroll) versus the pop guns other teams have.

    I mean, why can’t the Yankees ever send up Randall Simon, for chrissakes?

  19. Kyle J

    October 4, 2006 at 5:05 pm

    Dodgers get two runners thrown out at home plate on the same play. The Tigers’ failed hit and run is no longer the most disastrous play of the postseason. Of course, the Dodgers are still winning: 1-0.

  20. Adam

    October 4, 2006 at 5:08 pm

    Trouble is, if they go 3-0 against us, we can’t fight back anymore. We need to at least get one game…I hope it’s this one.

  21. Andrew

    October 4, 2006 at 5:31 pm

    I know it is cliche to say “must win” because in reality all games really should be “must win.” That being said – this is a must win game. Everyone knows (especially in a 5 game series) that for the underdog to have a chance he has to “steal” one of the first two games.

    I’ll tell ya what – last night’s game was probably one of the most exciting 8-4 games I have seen in a while. The Tigers had chances and didn’t get it done. You can’t have do-overs like you could as a kid playing at the sandlot so I won’t digress and rehash last night any further.

    As far as second guessing – What if the Tigers had rallyed on the Yankees relief pitching and won? Don’t you think the media would be second guessing Torre for pulling his starter when he was on a roll? As it was it cost him a run with Granderson pounding out a homerun.

    In Leyland We Trust.

  22. Pete

    October 4, 2006 at 6:20 pm

    Was anyone else struck by how much better the Yankees’ middle infielders are defensively? The best example was the ground ball Matsui hit in the seventh. The Yankees probably turn that into a double play ten times out of ten, but we only got one out. It didn’t end up mattering b/c Walker pitched out of it. But there were a lot of balls hit just out of the reach of Guillen and Polanco, and I think Jeter and Cano would have gotten to some of those. I do think we generally had good at bats last night and I think we can score some runs in this series. I’d like to see Verlander-Zumaya-Jones hold the Yanks to three or four runs tonight, and hopefully we can win 5-3 or something like that.

  23. Adam

    October 4, 2006 at 7:05 pm

    C’mon Billfer, where’s the game post?! Haha.

  24. Cameron in Singapore

    October 4, 2006 at 9:57 pm

    I absolutely agree that Casey should not be batting 3rd. What does he bring to that spot? Low average and no power?
    I think it makes most sense to move Guillen up to 3 and Monroe at 5. Move Casey down to 8.