These are the types of games that make me love baseball. It’s much easier to say this after a 9-0 win, but it’s not just the favorable result for the Tigers that I’m talking about*. It’s the disconnect between everything we know about baseball and what happens on a given night.
With a rich statistical history we are able to study the game in such detail. We know so much about how runs are scored and how they are prevented. We can talk about true talent level and the disadvantages of small ball and proper lineup construction. And I believe the majority of it to be true. With so many stats we can make some pretty good educated guesses about what will happen. And on any given night we can be so wrong.
I was very critical of the lineup that Jim Leyland put together tonight, and I’m not even someone who puts a lot of stock in lineups. The newly recalled Clete Thomas has no business hitting third. I don’t mean to disparage Clete at all, but that is simply not the right spot for someone with his skillset. Even for someone who had 12 hits, 7 of which were for extra bases, and 6 walks in his last 10 games in the minors.
But there was Clete, batting in the spot typically reserved for the team’s best hitter, and it took him 2 at-bats to match Magglio Ordonez’s season total for extra base hits. There was Clete anchoring a lineup that has struggled to score runs of late, even against inferior and/or struggling pitchers, and the offense exploded for a much needed laugher.
Despite tonight’s results I’m still firm in my conviction that this probably isn’t a lineup that will stand up in the long haul. But tonight, it sure did work.
(I’m not moving to seperate posts pre and post game, I just thought this one warranted some more space. *Also as to that unpredictability, I can appreciate Jackson’s start against the Yankees for the utter absurdity of what took place. Still didn’t care for the result though)