Did any of us really think the Tigers would win 11 straight playoff games? Probably not. But did any of us think that the Tigers would be so completely shut down by Anthony Reyes, the weakest link in the Cardinal rotation who was pitching in game 1 more due to circumstances than performance? Definitely not.
I don’t know whether or not the week long layoff impacted the hitting. What I did see was a team that was very aggressive early in the count against a pitcher that didn’t have a put away pitch. It’s one thing to attack Danny Haren early who has the great split finger when he gets ahead in the count. Reyes didn’t have that pitch. What he did have was a fastball that Tiger hitters said had a lot of movement.
The Tigers didn’t have an answer for Reyes, nor an answer for the Cardinals. In both other rounds the Tigers offense seemed to “answer” when the other team scored. After the Cardinals scored 3 in the 3rd, the Tigers answered with 3 outs on 13 pitches. After the Cardinals scored 3 runs in the 6th, the Tigers answered with an 8 pitch inning.
The Tigers offensive woes were enough to keep me from getting too upset about an error filled 6th inning. Hopefully they got that out of their system in a game that was for the most part out of reach. And as for Verlander, while I didn’t want him starting game 1 for a host of reasons, this was still a match-up that favored the Tigers. He wasn’t the reason the Tigers lost because 4 hits isn’t going to win you many games. Leyland said he was too tentative and not attacking the strike zone like the Tigers pitchers have done consistently in the series. That may have been true, but 100 pitches in 5 innings has been the M.O. for Verlander as of late. This time he actually allowed fewer baserunners and fanned more batters and generally looked better than he has – at least up until the messy 6th inning.
Losing game 1 isn’t the end of the world for the Tigers. What it does is do is put all the pressure on the Tigers to win tonight. The Cardinals were hoping for a split, and they’ve been assured of at least that. The Tigers now have the pressure to make sure the series is all even come game 3.
What others are saying
1 down, 3 more to go. But the road ain’t easy. ’68 the Cards won games 1, 3, and 4 and then went on to lose the 5-7 to the Tigers. And this ’06 version looked pretty tame after losing game one to the heavily favored Yanks before winning their next 7 to get here. This team still has a lot of fight in it, I’m just glad the Cards could set the tone by punching the big boy square on the jaw. Now it’s time to brace ourselves and see how well the Tigers can counter.
This was a game even I was writing off. Anthony Reyes came in to pitch as a stop gap because of how long the Cards series went with the Mets and not only did he keep us in the game, he exceeded expectations. He ran into trouble in the first inning and gave up a run, but then he didn’t give up a hit until the seventh inning. In all, the Tigers managed only four hits and a single walk. Not too bad for a rookie with a pretty poor ERA.
Don’t get too upset over this one. Of course you want to win Game 1, and you want to win games in your own stadium, but everything can change in day. The only thing that’s changed is that St. Louis has a 1-0 series lead. Otherwise, the Tigers maintain all the advantages they had before. Just gotta keep playing games and see if they win out.
This series is not going to be the easy series many of us thought. The Cardinals have just won a game everybody thought would belong to the Tigers. Scott Rolen (homer and a double) may be breaking out of his slump. Things are looking up for the Cardinals. Unlike the Oakland series, the Tigers will have to work for this one. Tomorrow night it will be Kenny Rogers versus Jeff Weaver. This is another matchup that would appear to favor the Tigers but we were reminded tonight that this doesn’t matter too much.
Ugly, ugly, ugly. Anthony Reyes at one point put down seventeen straight Tigers and two big innings by the Cardinals were the difference. Craig Monroe did give the Tigers a run on a solo shot in the bottom of the ninth but it didn’t matter much. It’s just hard to believe that this is the first time the Tigers have lost in two and a half weeks.
A bad loss, because it was frustrating to see Verlander show such vulnerability, and it was frustrating and a little scary to see the bats revert to that end of the regular season form. No. We went through that once already, we DON’T WANT TO SEE IT AGAIN. About the only good thing you can point to is the bullpen, which managed to flip through almost everybody, but almost everybody was perfect.
So the Tigers’ seven-game winning streakhas endedand the battle is joined. They swear they knew what they were getting into against the Cardinals and Pujols, and were prepared for it. We assume they won’t wait around any longer to show it.
The Tigers’ discomfort in their new role as favorite son showed, but perhaps they can find solace in the realization that if they keep this up in Game 2 tonight, they will become the underdog once again.
La Russa has a different dog in the race now. An underdog — hungry and fearless and persistent. An underdog that squirms under the bottom of the backyard fence to break free and run away and chase down big cars from San Diego and New York. This underdog is still barking.
It was the all-around lousiness of their play Saturday that seemed so striking. They didn’t hit, pitch or field, and manager Jim Leyland flunked his biggest test of the evening by getting cute with Albert Pujols. In a span of two hours and 54 minutes, the Tigers went from prohibitive World Series favorites to looking flatter than the bill of Reyes’ cap.
Yes, there were a couple of ugly moments along the way, most obviously Brandon Inge’s uncharacteristic defensive miscues. The game got away from the Tigers, however, for one reason and one reason only: they quit taking pitches while the Cardinals kept working to set up good at-bats. In the first inning, Reyes threw 22 pitches: nine balls, and 13 strikes (five of which were put into play). Then, for the next seven innings combined, Reyes threw only 14 balls — against 53 strikes. That’s just 2.4 pitches per Tiger batter in the second through eighth innings, and barely more than one ball for every second at-bat.