Game 2013. Playoffs 10: Red Sox at Tigers

by Coleman on October 17, 2013 · 118 comments

in 2013 Season,Game Post,Playoffs

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First game of a 3-game series.

“My favorite pastime is definitely baseball. We have a star-studded team & it’s going to be fun tonight”

Thank you Calvin (or is it Johnson?). I couldn’t have said it better myself.

It was a small thing really: take one guy from the front of the lineup, move him to the back, move everyone else up one. Could it really make that big of a difference? It could. Austin Jackson was struggling mightily, historically: he had struck out in over 50% of his at bats in this postseason, and it was weighing on him, it was bringing down the team, and it was upsetting the fans. So Leyland pulled the trigger, and decided to see if batting lower in the order would take some pressure off.

Austin Jackson is a very good professional baseball player. Austin Jackson has skills, and it is unlikely that those skills suddenly left him. But baseball is a game played partly in the head, and it was worth a shot to change his perspective a bit, and boy did it work.

But nobody, least of all Jim Leyland, expected this: Austin Jackson’s first at bat in his new spot in the lineup comes up in the second inning with the bases loaded and 1 out. This after losing the night before partly because the Tigers failed to score a run on two tries with a runner on 3rd and 1 out. Talk about “taking the pressure off” backfiring. But then Peavy did Jackson a favor: a pitch too far outside the strike zone for even the struggling Jackson to swing at. And then another. Suddenly Jackson was in a favorable 2-0 count. Then 3-0. The 4th pitch was close, but in a take-all-the-way situation, all Jackson had to to was watch ball four, take first base, walk in the first run of the game, and soak in the applause.

It was only the 2nd inning, but I think that was the at bat of the game, and in its own way may contend with importance with the Ortiz at bat in Game 2, albeit in a way not tailored to highlight. I’m not sure what Peavy was doing, or trying to do, but I think the whole game turned on that at bat. The Tigers ended up scoring 5 in the inning; if Jackson had struck out there, not only do the Tigers probably not score, but Jackson is probably back in his funk. And it was only the 2nd inning, not a dramatic 8th inning home run, but I think scoring early is the key to beating Boston in this series, and the second inning outburst of runs was huge.

That wasn’t Leyland’s only move with Jackson of the game though. In the 4th inning, probably encouraged by his 2nd inning RBI walk, Jackson singled Infante in from 2nd. Two at bats, two RBI. Now Jackson is probably really feeling good, right? So Leyland sends him, and Austin has his first stolen base since September 17. The stolen base was useful: Jackson came around to score. But don’t think the gamble Leyland was taking here had nothing to do with taking Jackson’s energy and bumping it up a notch. Leyland at his best.

The other, probably unintended effect of the lineup change is that it gave the Tigers a slow half/fast half of the lineup setup: with Infante/Jackson/Iglesias/Hunter all batting together, we were treated to a burst of base running/bunting/infield hit action that Tiger fans haven’t seen in a while. I’m not sure why the change tonight (Avila moved up one spot).

*****

Then there is Prince Fielder. Kevin mentioned that T Smith and KW had already dealt him before yesterday; it seems StorminNorman$ has also dealt him today. With Jackson having a good day, Prince takes the hot seat. Fielder had a mildly disappointedly regular season, but the disappointment is hot and spicy for his postseason. Which seems familiar…oh yes, the same thing happened last year.

In fact, Fielder’s career postseason OPS is now .701. Oh wait, that’s Don Kelly’s. Prince’s career postseason OPS: .632.  I’m not sure what is going on with Prince. Last month I talked about how much I liked Prince, even while being disappointed with him: he tried hard, ran hard, put his body in front of balls, anything he could do to help. Not so much right now. I’m not a fan of the facial expression analysis school of baseball fandom–it’s too easy to read things into expressions and body language through a lens of disappointment (in Cabrera’s first year in Detroit he looked “disinterested,” “lazy” and one commenter kept insisting he would “be out of baseball in 3 years”).  But he sure doesn’t scare anybody on other teams, say the way Ortiz scares us when he steps up to the plate.

A year or two back I read a good analysis about the difference between the Yankees and the Tigers–the Tigers were giving out some big contracts, but all of the Tiger big contracts were good big contacts: the Verlanders and Cabreras were actually worth the money, while the Yankees were stuck with a bunch of big contracts that were dead money. Did the Tigers pull a “Yankee” with Fielder? Is it too soon to tell?

*****

Well, here we go: last game at Comerica, until the Dodgers or Cardinals stop by. Which would you prefer? When it looked like St. Louis would sweep, I was all for St. Louis–let them sit for a week until this thing is over. Now, I may have changed my mind. At any rate, this is my last ALCS post. I hereby turn this thing over to the capable hands of Kevin and Loon. It has been quite the postseason so far.

*****

We have Anibal tonight. The Red Sox couldn’t hit him last time. They have Lester. The Tigers couldn’t really hit him. It’s playoff baseball, fasten your seat belts, and pack plenty of provisions, it will probably be a long one!

*****

Quote of the day goes to Don Kelly, via Jerry Crasnick: “I’d have a hard time if I played for the #redsox. I would have had to start my beard 3 years ago.”

Today’s Player of the Pre-game: Austin Jackson. Is there momentum in baseball?

Today’s Score Early Lineup:

  1. Hunter, RF
  2. Cabrera, 3B
  3. Fielder, 1B
  4. Martinez, DH
  5. Peralta, LF
  6. Infante, 2B
  7. Avila, C
  8. Jackson, CF
  9. Iglesias, SS

Whatever happened to Brayan Pena? Just wondering (I think I can make this line into a template).

 
 

{ 118 comments }

Smoking Loon October 17, 2013 at 7:52 pm

He he. I think you’ve made the line into a template.

Now that you delve into a bit more, I’m on board with the greater significance of the AJax lineup move and others.

I agree that a bit much has been made of Fielder’s “attitude.” He doesn’t have the ebullience of Hunter or Cabrera. More of a serene and stoic fellow, but as far as I can see on the radio, there doesn’t seem to be a lack of effort or enthusiasm.

Kevin in Dallas October 17, 2013 at 8:01 pm

I think it’s the divorce. I really do.

Smoking Loon October 17, 2013 at 8:03 pm

Still?

TIGERS RULE October 17, 2013 at 7:56 pm

“We have Max tonight”?

Coleman October 17, 2013 at 8:04 pm

Fixed! I guess “we have ___ tonight, the last time the Red Sox couldn’t hit him” works for pretty much everybody, doesn’t it?

TIGERS RULE October 17, 2013 at 8:06 pm

Right on, hope it continues!

Smoking Loon October 17, 2013 at 8:05 pm

Oh man. I didn’t even see that. Coleman!

Smoking Loon October 17, 2013 at 8:06 pm

Too late. I saw it!

Coleman October 17, 2013 at 8:10 pm

Anibal sure racks up a lot of 3-2 counts.

Coleman October 17, 2013 at 8:15 pm

At least we got the no-hitter spoiled early (it worked last night).

Coleman October 17, 2013 at 8:29 pm

Fire Brookens.

Coleman October 17, 2013 at 8:30 pm

Or did Cabrera run through a stop sign?

Coleman October 17, 2013 at 8:38 pm

OK, looks like Brookens gave him both signs.

TIGERS RULE October 17, 2013 at 8:31 pm

Very costly base running error.

StorminNorman$ October 17, 2013 at 8:31 pm

Brookens…why?!?!?

TIGERS RULE October 17, 2013 at 8:35 pm

Look who’s running, why even bother sending him, and possibly risk injury. If Brookens did send him ….. he should be fired immediately!

judpma October 17, 2013 at 8:31 pm

hey Brookens do you at least have a GED..no one can possibly be this STUPID!!!!!!!!

T Smith October 17, 2013 at 8:31 pm

Well, that was ugly.

kw October 17, 2013 at 8:32 pm

WHAT THE MOTHER PDFYLKSJHCKLSHKSJD

TIGERS RULE October 17, 2013 at 8:35 pm

…… here we go.

judpma October 17, 2013 at 8:37 pm

its absolutely amazing what this team has to accomplish to cover for Brookens and Leyland!!!

TIGERS RULE October 17, 2013 at 8:55 pm

I have been saying that for years! Can no one else see what we see?

Coleman October 17, 2013 at 8:37 pm

Clown Show watch in effect.

kw October 17, 2013 at 8:41 pm

sigh

Smoking Loon October 17, 2013 at 8:49 pm

Yeah. This has gone south fast.

TIGERS RULE October 17, 2013 at 8:42 pm

Miggy ran through the stop sign. Should he be benched this game, next game, or let it slide?

Coleman October 17, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Brookens gave him the go sign, then changed it, Cabrera didn’t look back.

TIGERS RULE October 17, 2013 at 8:47 pm

I didn’t see it on replay. Now that error looms even larger ….. not to be overcome!

Smoking Loon October 17, 2013 at 8:50 pm

Only listening. The call was that Miggy ignored the sign. I was in a lather about Cabrera after the error, believe me. If he missed the stop sign, OK. But the error… man.

Coleman October 17, 2013 at 8:54 pm

Brookens was waving him home as he was going from 2nd to 3rd, as he got to 3rd he threw up the stop sign, but it looked like Cabrera never looked back at him.

Smoking Loon October 17, 2013 at 9:11 pm

Brookens again, then. Wonder what the defense will be this time. Game 5 of the ALCS. Wow.

judpma October 17, 2013 at 8:46 pm

it was a no go the moment it was hit. Then the clown show continues on D..

TIGERS RULE October 17, 2013 at 8:52 pm

It was a game changer, rally killer ….. who knows what OI would have done if he came to bat?

kw October 17, 2013 at 8:52 pm

I don’t understand why, even as Cabrera passed Brookens, Brookens kept his arms up. It’s almost like he was trying to fake out the Red Sox. Whatever it was, it was a little league error. Seriously, have you ever seen something like that happen outside of little league? Even high school baseball players don’t play that stupidly.

StorminNorman$ October 17, 2013 at 8:50 pm

BOS wore their ‘big boy pants’ tonight…

judpma October 17, 2013 at 8:56 pm

Mumbles will call it the greatest “send” in the history of baseball…and thas because they are both idiots!

StorminNorman$ October 17, 2013 at 9:04 pm

what a great effin play by Iggy!

StorminNorman$ October 17, 2013 at 9:06 pm

that play is the polar opposite of DET’s 1st inning base-running/3rd base coaching

TIGERS RULE October 17, 2013 at 9:05 pm

IGGY!!!

Smoking Loon October 17, 2013 at 9:07 pm

I think Sanchez needs to take a seat. Soon.

Smoking Loon October 17, 2013 at 9:14 pm

Porcello. Benoit for a 6-inning save. Something. Anything.

Smoking Loon October 17, 2013 at 9:15 pm

OK, not a save. Down 4-0 not a real good situation for the Tigers. I’d rather be the Red Sox in that situation.

Coleman October 17, 2013 at 9:07 pm

Iglesias was playing 2B when he caught that!!

Coleman October 17, 2013 at 9:08 pm

How about we start pitching around Napoli.

Smoking Loon October 17, 2013 at 9:12 pm

If this game was a meal, I’d send it back. This is awful.

Coleman October 17, 2013 at 9:14 pm

If this game were a band, it would be Iggy and the Stooges.

Smoking Loon October 17, 2013 at 9:17 pm

If this game were a baseball game, I’d keep listening to it.

StorminNorman$ October 17, 2013 at 9:17 pm

hey I like Iggy and the Stooges, but I don’t like this game…

StorminNorman$ October 17, 2013 at 9:20 pm

and the icing on the cake, Buck and McCarver adding that ‘finger nails on the chalkboard’ commentary

Coleman October 17, 2013 at 9:21 pm

Tigers need a little Raw Power.

Coleman October 17, 2013 at 9:21 pm

Cabrera with an almost home run, then screwed on the 3rd strike call. Fielder with the quick & painless 1-pitch groundout. I don’t like how this game is trending.

Coleman October 17, 2013 at 9:32 pm

This is not how I wanted to get Pena in the lineup.

StorminNorman$ October 17, 2013 at 9:36 pm

Never fear, BOS will maintain the 4-run lead until the 8th when the mgr will pull their starter and then make a few more questionable pitching changes, which don’t work, and when the bases are loaded the mgr will bring in… Benoit, er I mean…Uehara for the game tying GS

judpma October 17, 2013 at 9:47 pm

Fielder is tough on those two hoppers right to him..no wonder he make $24 mil…

StorminNorman$ October 17, 2013 at 9:48 pm

Red Wings are leading undefeated COL 2-0 after one period

judpma October 17, 2013 at 9:57 pm

lets see if you play a 5 game series and you can’t score in 3 of them…I don’t think you have a very good chance at the series!

Kevin in Dallas October 17, 2013 at 9:59 pm

We’ll be fine.

Coleman October 17, 2013 at 10:02 pm

As they show Phil Coke warming up in the bullpen (nice timing!)

StorminNorman$ October 17, 2013 at 10:05 pm

I thought the same thing

Coleman October 17, 2013 at 10:07 pm

The Tigers need Martinez batting behind Cabrera. Badly.

T Smith October 17, 2013 at 10:09 pm

+1

kw October 17, 2013 at 10:07 pm

Hey guys, what do you think about Fielder? Ground ball to second again or will he get the job d…oh. Yep.

T Smith October 17, 2013 at 10:16 pm

Prince Fielder has be consistent at one thing… ending a rally (on a weak ground out to 2nd).

Yes, we desperately need Martinez behind Cabrera. Instead we’ll see a Martinez lead off single the next inning, stranded on second or third.

Coleman October 17, 2013 at 10:20 pm

Three guys hitting: Cabrera, Martinez, and Peralta (I guess maybe Jackson too). And the human Rally-Kill plopped right in between them.

Coleman October 17, 2013 at 10:09 pm

I’d rather see Don Kelly at first (and the numbers agree with me).

StorminNorman$ October 17, 2013 at 10:10 pm

I’ve been communicating w/several at the game today, they said quite a few boo’s for Fielder after that last groundout

Angus October 17, 2013 at 10:15 pm

That trade of Fielder to St. Louis for some prospects is looking better all the time.

T Smith October 17, 2013 at 10:19 pm

yeah, and less and less attractive to St. Louis.

TIGERS RULE October 17, 2013 at 10:20 pm

Seeing that the Tiger bats are usually asleep in the latter stages of the game …… switching to the Red Wing game.

Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi October 17, 2013 at 10:51 pm

Plenty of game left, right Kevin?

Coleman October 17, 2013 at 10:56 pm

Shhh, Kevin is staring at the Relax picture.

Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi October 17, 2013 at 10:59 pm

Serenity now!

Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi October 17, 2013 at 10:59 pm

Iglesias now!!!!

Coleman October 17, 2013 at 11:01 pm

I say send him.

Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi October 17, 2013 at 11:05 pm

Torii now!!!

kw October 17, 2013 at 10:53 pm

You know, if they lose tonight, it’ll be a lot easier to take than the Papi Slam game or the 1-0 Verlander loss. That’s positive takeaway.

Having said that, WIN THIS GAME. MY SANITY DEPENDS ON IT.

judpma October 17, 2013 at 11:05 pm

crank one Miggy!

Coleman October 17, 2013 at 11:06 pm

Tazawa owns Miggy.

Coleman October 17, 2013 at 11:09 pm

Or maybe having to bat with Rallykill on deck is making him try to do too much.

judpma October 17, 2013 at 11:11 pm

for $46 mil we get two groundballs to second..somehow I kinda expected more!!!

Kevin in Dallas October 17, 2013 at 11:11 pm

I can only stay relaxed for so long. Next double play is going to send me over the edge.

Coleman October 17, 2013 at 11:12 pm

We can’t trade Princd now–next postseason he’ll be REALLY due!!

Doug of Troy October 17, 2013 at 11:19 pm

Compare what Verlander and Scherzer have done this postseason versus our 2 power hitters. The former have delivered every time even in relief but Cabrera and particularly Fielder have been abysmal both at bat and in the field.

judpma October 17, 2013 at 11:22 pm

lets grind out acouple runs..It’s not like we need 5…but 2 would be great!

StorminNorman$ October 17, 2013 at 11:23 pm

Iglesias is truly exciting to watch

BTW: the 4th run given to BOS on a WP is looming large

Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi October 17, 2013 at 11:26 pm

The foul by Jhonny and Miggy’s mistake trying to score in the third didn’t help either. However, lets take Uehara deep in the 8th!

StorminNorman$ October 17, 2013 at 11:27 pm

after DET gets their first base runner against Uehara, the next DET hitter needs to call time out and make him cut that long leather string off his glove…its been bothering me since the TAM series, and it might throw him out of his rythm

judpma October 17, 2013 at 11:31 pm

hey Jhonny was that 6 or 7 balls on you, I list track!!!

Coleman October 17, 2013 at 11:41 pm

Nice job by the umpire protecting the runner. I guess the call that a screen play.

StorminNorman$ October 17, 2013 at 11:45 pm

I think the ump was just covering 3B since nobody on DET was ;)

Coleman October 17, 2013 at 11:46 pm

+1

Coleman October 17, 2013 at 11:44 pm

So wait–we walk a guy to set up the double play, then concede 2nd??? What kind of brilliant strategy is that??

StorminNorman$ October 17, 2013 at 11:46 pm

a stupid one…which in this case worked

judpma October 17, 2013 at 11:47 pm

hey ump I think we can trust you to make the right call from 3 feet away instead of 6 inches off the bag and in the way!

judpma October 17, 2013 at 11:55 pm

Goats of the game:
1. Fielder
2. Brookens
3. Infante

Kevin in Dallas October 17, 2013 at 11:57 pm

This sucks.

See you guys on Saturday. I have to start working on my post for Sunday.

StorminNorman$ October 17, 2013 at 11:58 pm

another one of those ‘if i would, i coulda’ losses… the 3rd of this series “for those keeping score at home”…not as brutal as the other two, but brutal.

Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi October 17, 2013 at 11:58 pm

Another one run game.

Angus October 17, 2013 at 11:58 pm

Kevin in D. You promised a Game 7. Lets go Tigers.

JimEggersUSMC October 18, 2013 at 12:14 am

Speaking on behalf of all baseball Zenophobes everywhere, who had the great idea of letting these Japanese pitchers in ‘Merican Baseball? Of course since they pitch in the 7-9th innings, traditionally the famine portion of the Tigers batters, is it their native land or is it the Tigers’ non hitters? off to Beantown, lets get 2!!!

T Smith October 18, 2013 at 12:19 am

Boston looks like they want it more.

We rallied back all night long but just couldn’t push this one over the hump…was hoping to see Miggy come up to the plate one more time to try to redeem himself for the GIDP to critically thwart the seventh inning come back.

T Smith October 18, 2013 at 12:20 am

BTW, why does Prince Fielder always look like he just woke up from a long nap?

Coleman October 18, 2013 at 12:23 am

He keeps having this recurring dream where he is grounding out to 2nd….

Coleman October 18, 2013 at 12:22 am

You could see Uehara was gassed at the end of the game…one baserunner, and Boston might have had a problem. Red Sox fans were sweating it.

Coleman October 18, 2013 at 1:03 am

Fielder has a couple of impressive streaks going. There is his consecutive games streak, and there is also his postseason streak: 65 at bats without an RBI.

StorminNorman$ October 18, 2013 at 8:00 am

Fielder extended his postseason drought without an RBI to a career-long 65 at-bats and that helped Boston hold on for a 4-3 win and a 3-2 series lead that put the Tigers on the brink of elimination.

“He’s had some good at-bats, doesn’t have a lot to show for it, and some not so good at-bats,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “I know people say, `Well, you keep waiting for it.’ I still feel good something big could happen at any time. He’s one of those electric guys.”

NOTE to the Skipper: somebody needs to plug in ‘the electric guy’

StorminNorman$ October 18, 2013 at 8:02 am
StorminNorman$ October 18, 2013 at 12:27 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRbhE3GRiUE

JL should try to employ this method to jump-start Mr. Electric (Fielder)

Smoking Loon October 19, 2013 at 2:09 am

Might work.

Coleman October 18, 2013 at 9:32 am

Miggy discussing Brookens:
“He send me, he stopped me later, but that’s baseball. …”

Congratulations everyone who played Miggy in the “that’s baseball” pool.

StorminNorman$ October 18, 2013 at 10:41 am

i’m kidding, but whenever a DET player, manager or coach uses the “that’s baseball” expression as a catch-all excuse, they should be required to insert the word “Tiger”… as in, “that’s Tiger baseball”

if some entity kept track of Runs Not Scored (because of base running/coaching errors), i’ve got a pretty good idea which team might have led the league in that category this year…

i wonder if Lamont ever gets any sinister pleasure when Brookens F’s up

Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi October 18, 2013 at 11:16 am

You got to “tip your hat” to those who played that excuse in the pool! I believe it was after Game 4 that Torii said one run in the playoffs equal 10 runs in the regular season. More the reason to play sound baseball. The Tigers had the opportunity to put Lester on the ropes in the first and lost that chance when Cabrera was put out at the plate. What a different the game would have been especially if Peralta’s blast in the first when fair for a homerun…..”that’s baseball!”

stephen October 18, 2013 at 11:15 am

Quite possible Scherzer and Verlander run the table. Otherwise, point to remember: The Wall Street Journal says if Tigers win World Series they would be, statistically, the worst defensive team ever to win title.

Defense matters. Dombrowski has decided to ignore this for years.

Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi October 18, 2013 at 11:18 am

Going to a Game 7 are the memories of what great Tigers seasons are made of! Hold on tight and enjoy the ride!

T Smith October 18, 2013 at 12:06 pm

What, you mean Iglesias can’t cover the entire field?

Coleman October 18, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Defense and baserunning. The Red Sox excel at both. The Tigers were built on starting pitching and power hitting at the expense of defense and base running.. The power has disappeared, leaving them a team built on starting pitching and crossing your fingers.

(An uninjured Cabrera upgrades the team in power, running, and fielding, so part of this is bad luck).

stephen October 19, 2013 at 12:09 am

Right now, all the Tigers fans saying ‘With Scherzer and Verlander, we got this’ are watching Kershaw and taking a long slug of Wild Turkey.

Coleman October 19, 2013 at 12:27 am

I’m saving mine for tomorrow night.

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