Game 2011 Playoffs.8: Rangers at Tigers

Here’s the thing about a walk-off Grand Slam.  It only counts as one win.  One win.  Same as a sacrifice fly, walk, HBP, bloop single, etc.  There’s no momentum in baseball.

In less than 9 hours, 42,000+ screaming, rabid, passionate Detroit Tigers fans are going to erupt when the Tigers charge out of the dugout and take the field.  They are going to cheer every Tiger, and boo every Ranger (well, maybe except for Ron Washington – I love watching that guy).   There’s no momentum in baseball.

I realize that everyone wants to jump on Lamont for not sending Santiago in the top of the 9th, but let’s not forget that this team won 95 games, largely on the shoulders of MVP candidate Miguel Cabrera, and VMart hit a cool .394 behind him with RISP.  I 100% agree with Lamont’s decision there.  Had Santiago been thrown out at home with Miguel Cabrera in the on-deck circle, Lamont would have never been able to walk out into public in Detroit again.

I’d like to mention that the 3-2-3 double play last night turned by Cabrera was gorgeous.  He had to make the swipe tag because it happened so fast that he could not get back to the bag.  That guy is going to earn a Gold Glove next season, and win one in 2013.

If you were to simplify the game into starting pitching, bullpen, and hitting, the Rangers have the Tigers beat in the last two, but the Tigers have the upper hand in starting pitching.  And there is no reason to doubt that Fister/Porcello/Verlander can’t bring home 3 Ws in 3 games.  It’s not a foregone conclusion, but the Tigers will be favored in each of the next 3.  And if the bats can hit at home, that Rangers bullpen may start to get overworked.

The first two games have been incredible matches between two teams who are about as close as they can be, with the Rangers’ bullpen granting the Rangers the upper-hand.  But in all honesty, the Tigers are really just a few swings away from a 2-0 lead.  They have stranded 22 runners on base through two games – and have gone 2-for-19 with runners in scoring position.  A few big hits over the next few nights and this thing looks totally different.  There’s no momentum in baseball.

(I’ll update with lineups later today)

Tonight’s Delmon-less Lineup

1. Austin Jackson, CF
2. Ramon Santiago, 2B
3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
4. Victor Martinez, DH
5. Don Kelly, 3B
6. Jhonny Peralta, SS
7. Alex Avila, C
8. Ryan Raburn, LF
9. Andy Dirks, RF