Game 2012 Playoffs.2: A’s at Tigers

1-0, 2 games left to win in the series.

Prior to last night, JV was 0-2 with a 9 ERA in 3 previous game 1 playoff starts.  After Coco Crisp lined the 4th pitch of the game into the RF bleachers, on a 1-2 count no less, it looked like more of the same. But it wasn’t.

Verlander then went into beast mode, and allowed only 2 hits and 6 base runners over 7 innings while striking out 11, including 5 of the last 6. The A’s only advanced to 2B once after the HR, and never had more than 1 runner on in an inning. The four walks were a little uncharacteristic, but note that they were all on full-counts.

I honestly believe that JV didn’t have his best stuff last night. He didn’t locate well, and obviously labored with the high PC. But he absolutely shut down a team that had won 6 in a row prior to last night, and seems to be the it pick in the playoffs.

The bullpen the came in and threw just as well, as Valverde had perhaps his best save of the year.

Cabrera and Fielder were surprisingly quiet, going 0-7 with a walk and GIDP (no RBI), but Berry’s speed created mayhem in the A’s infield, and Alex Avila hit his first HR of the season during a JV start.

All together it was a 3-1 win, and the perfect start to the ALDS.

Today’s A’s starter is lefty Tommy Milone. Milone is 13-10 on the year with a 3.74 ERA and 1.28 WHIP. His K/9 is only 6.49, which is a little below average, but he hardly walks anyone – 1.78 BB/9, which gives him an outstanding K/BB ratio of nearly 4:1.  Milone’s fastball will top out at around 90 MPH, but he’s got a plus change and has 5 pitches that he throws with regularity (2 seamer, 4 seamer, change, cutter, curve).

Both of Milone’s starts against the Tigers during the regular season ended up in Oakland blowouts. Milone pitched well back on May 11th , allowing only 1 ER on 5 hits in 7 innings. The Tigers then got to him for 3 runs and 9 hits in only 4 2/3 a few weeks ago on September 20th, but those early runs didn’t hold up and the A’s ran away later in the game. In those two starts the Tigers managed 14 hits (.311 BAA) and 4 walks (.360 OBP), but only 3 XBH, all doubles. So look for extra bases, and not just singles, to be the difference today.


A few updates:

– Found this post on Fangraphs which says that the matchup is pretty close. Always interesting to see them labor through the numbers.

– Rod Allen thinks that today is a must-win for the A’s. With JV slated for game 5, it’s hard to argue, says ESPN’s David Schoenfield (and everyone else). Though Rod may want a redo on his game 2 “I see you,” since Avila is not starting today.

– The New York Times ran a nice piece on Cabrera on Friday, and reminded us that the last 3 Triple Crown winners all played in the World Series.

Today’s Morning (in Texas) Lineup:

1. Jackson, CF
2. Infante, 2B
3. Cabrera, 3B
4. Fielder, 1B
5. Young, DH
6. Peralta, SS
7. Dirks, LF
8. Garcia, RF
9. Laird, C

56 thoughts on “Game 2012 Playoffs.2: A’s at Tigers”

    1. Yeah, tell that to the Twins and the Tigers in 1987. Tell that to the Rangers from last year. That’s why 99% of mlb teams win fewer games on the road. But nice try.

  1. This is the sameTiger line up Leyland ran in Game 149 that Milone pitched. Milone went 4 2/3 giving up 3ER on 9H, 1K, 3BB.The bottom third of the Tiger line up hit in that game including a Dirks homer. After Milone left the A’s exploded on Sanchez and won 12-4.

  2. Rangers was regular season. If you can find me evidence that a team with eight rookie pitchers has ever won a playoff series, I will buy you a keg of Vernors.

  3. It’s baseball, sure it could happen. But man, you have Fielder, Cabrera, and Verlander. No way it should happen.

  4. Give those two runs to Selig. Home cooking call on Infante and there’s no way Crisp drops that at home.

  5. Our offense has basically been absent these two games. We could easily have been heading out West down 2, if not for our pitching in game 1.

  6. Worth just earned his roster spot right there. That’s an infield hit if Peralta is in, if not runners on 1st and 3rd.

  7. Gutsy performances by Fister, Albuquerque, and even Coke for a change. Have seen one too many Blowpen efforts by Long Ball Benoit.

  8. In retrospect, if I had a choice between Kelly and Boesch in a game-winning, sac fly situation: Kelly every time.

  9. Now who wants to say the Tigers would have won this game on the road? Anyone? (Excuse me as I duck and hide from the refuse heading my way).

  10. Pat on the back for management: the Worth/Kelly over Boesch roster move is looking good (so far).

  11. Benoit looks like he is throwing BP…hopefully Al Al might pick it up along with Dotel……..but the story of the day…cut in midseasen and hero on Oct….Don Kelly

  12. Soooo, 1 DK story… in 2009, I was enroute to a national BSA/OA event in Indiana, and stopped in Louisville to see the Mud Hens play the Bats. I have known Rick Sweet for many years, he was kind enough to take a minute and chat up the group I was traveling with. As he shook hands to leave, I asked him who was good on the Toledo. squad. He said that Kelly guy will be a big leaguer very soon. I have kept an eye on him and he has had a well documernted ( on this blog) up and down career. But right now today, we all think he is Mr. Clutch!

  13. Man, what a game. To get to the A’s bullpen like that was unbelievable. I heard that Cook hadn’t given up a run in over a month.

    I want to give credit to Leyland, as he liberally used his subs and they all worked. Kelly scored on the WP, then had the game winning Sac Fly, Worth made a fantastic play at SS that I don’t think Peralta makes, and Al Al got a huge out on Cespedes.

    Also, Garcia is going to be the RF that we’ve been searching for since Maggs got old.

    Benoit is troubling, but until we lose a game b/c of him, I don’t see Leyland changing him.

    1. I guess I have the opposite view on giving credit to Leyland. Pinch hitting Berry was a horrible move, given Q’s propensity for strikeouts. Bringing in Coke for the 9th was a huge head-scratcher as well. Al Al should have been there from the start of the inning.

      1. Who would you PH in lieu of Berry?

        Three reasons why I’m okay with Coke there.

        1) A lefty (Kottaras) was due up, followed by 2 switch-hitters, then another lefty. In the event that we got into a situational standoff with both managers using subs, I’d rather burn Coke than Al Al.

        2) Al Al has control problems, and we didn’t want the first guy on base.

        3) If Al Al comes in and gets into trouble, who can we call on to get a big K? Remember that Villareal is not on the playoff roster.

        1. I think Mith is right on this point. Berry doesn’t exactly invoke confidence that he can put contact on the ball in that situation, which is what you want. I was almost certain he was going to whiff there…

          So who would you put in there? Don Kelly? (who ran for Young… but shouldn’t it have been Berry that ran for Young and Kelly who pitch it for Garcia?) I dunno, but I sure didn’t like Berry in there with runner at third with one out.

          Fortunately Berry did bat there and the game unfolded as it did, with Kelly coming up big the following inning….

          Leyland, you’re a genius!

  14. I didn’t get to watch the game, just followed the play-by-play online, so I was wondering how Cespedes was able to steal 2B and 3B on the same AB with such apparent ease. Is Cespedes that good? Were the Tigers lax? Is Benoit (and/or Laird) that bad with runners? Was the weather a factor?

    I’ve seen some whining about the new 2-3 schedule. It’s obviously intended to favor the team with the better record, which I applaud. The A’s have blown that advantage and can hardly blame it on where the games were played. I’m sure the A’s themselves don’t, but some of their fans seem to.

    1. Benoit would stretch look at him on first look home…count 1001,1002 and pitch…..Huge jump off first. On the first pitch following the steal of second. Benoit looks at him on second, looks home 1001,1002,1003 and pitches. Cesoedes was half way before the pitch. Benoit never looked at him on base after the first look and took way too long to look at home and pitch!!!

      1. It’s the same with Valverde. Benoit and Valverde do nothing to hold the runners. I don’t think that it’s a mandate coming from the dugout, but I do think that there is so little emphasis on it that it has now devolved into a strategy (one that I don’t understand).

  15. I don’t get why both Worth and Santiago are on the playoff roster. They play the same role. Anyone have any ideas?

    1. Probably because Santiago wasn’t cutting it (he was awful at the end of the season, even by Santiago standards), so he was replaced by Worth–but kept on the team out of loyalty (he is longest tenured Tiger). Or something like that.

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