4 games to go.
I distinctly remember the off days leading up to the ’06 series. I was watching John Kruk (on ESPN) during the Cardinals/Mets series, and someone asked him who his pick would be to win the NLCS. Kruk just laughed and said something to the effect of “does it matter? Detroit’s going to win the whole thing.” What a great feeling that was. And how quickly it dissipated after game 4 in Detroit.
I think we all felt that way leading up to Wednesday’s game, even in spite of the long off days WS stats. But now the stuff has hit the fan…check this out:
Of the 52 World Series to see a team go up 2 games to zero, 41 of those teams leading have hung on to win the series. Further, only one team out of the last fifteen trailing 0-2 has triumphed over their opponent. The Tigers are 0-2 in WS when they started 0-2.
From what I’m reading, many of you want to blame Leyland, but honestly, I just don’t see it. Here are my thoughts (just my opinion, feel free to counter):
- Game 1 is on Verlander. He gets lauded like an ace, he gets paid like an ace and he dates like an ace. He needs to pitch like one. To pin that one on anyone else is ridiculous. I don’t expect him to pitch a shutout every time out, but he needs to get through 6 or 7 and give the team a chance to win.
- Game 2- I actually agreed with Lamont’s decision to send Fielder based on where the ball was, and the moment in the game. At worst it’s a 50/50 call. I don’t want to release him for the blown decisions all season long, but I don’t think Lamont/or Leyland is to blame for game 2. You blame the bats or credit the Giants’ pitchers, but I don’t know what different managerial decisions Leyland could have made. If you want to question playing back for the double play, that’s fine, but the Tigers are an above average offensive team. We can’t be scared of a run.
But let’s move on.
I don’t want to talk about the rest of the series, I want to talk about one game. Let’s be honest, tonight is a must win.
The Tigers will have their work cut out for them against righty Ryan Vogelsong. Vogelsong returned to MLB in 2011 after 3 years in Japan. His 2011 campaign was good enough to land him an All-Star spot, and in 2012 he went 14-9 with a 3.37 ERA, .242 BAA and 1.23 WHIP. He throws a low to mid-90′s fastball (4 seam and 2 seam), along with a slider, curve and change-up. One of the greatest reasons for his improvement has been his K rate, which is 6.74/9 for his MLB career, but was 6.96/9 in 2011, and 7.5/9 for 2012. He’s striking out 8.52/9 this postseason.
Speaking of the postseason, he’s been phenomenal, posting a 1.42 ERA and a .89 WHIP covering 3 starts and 19 innings. His splits are pretty routine for an above average righty, and he walks about 3 per game. Oh yeah – he had a streak of 16 consecutive quality starts earlier this season.
Anibal Sanchez will need to bring his best stuff tonight. I like where his head is right now:
“We need to start over,” … “We need to forget what happened in San Francisco. I know we’ve got the talent. That’s why we’re here.”
Sanchez has the physical capabilities, and I have been impressed with his composure. Plus, he’s 3-1 in 5 career starts versus the Giants. Blanco is 4-7 off of Sanchez, and Pence is 6-18. Sandoval is 1-6 with 0 HR.
Here’s why we win tonight:
1) The Tigers were 22-8 at Comerica to close out the season and are 4-0 at Comerica in the postseason.
2) Andy Dirks is in the lineup and covering left field.
3) We’re simply too good to lose 3 in a row.
Tonight’s Back in the Series Lineup
1. Jackson, CF
2. Berry, LF
3. Cabrera, 3B (1-for-5 off Vogelsong)
4. Fielder, 1B (0-for-3 off Vogelsong)
5. Young, DH (1-for-3 off Vogelsong)
6. Dirks, RF (0-for-3, 2 K’s off Vogelsong)
7. Peralta, SS (1-for-2, 1 walk off Vogelsong)
8. Avila, C (0-for-1, 2 walks off Vogelsong)
9. Infante, 2B (7-for-11 off Vogelsong)