Game 2013. Playoffs 5: Tigers at A’s

by Smoking Loon on October 9, 2013 · 158 comments

in 2013 Season,Game Post,Playoffs

Post image for Game 2013. Playoffs 5: Tigers at A’s

This falls to me, of all people? I’ve lost four in a row. I’ve been no-hit by the Miami Marlins. Lately, I seem to have inherited Justin “The Better I Pitch, The Less My Team Scores” Verlander from Kevin. My insight and wit have been hampered by an adverbial strain and more recently hobbled with a groan injury; I can’t write for extra bases any more. My typing fingers are suffering from Phil Cokeness.

Oh, all right, then. Our ace Coleman may be called upon to make the first-ever DTW game post relief appearance, though, and on short rest.

Seriously, I and we find ourselves atop one of those Tigers fans pinnacles. Not the ultimate pinnacle, but a good and interesting place to be anyway. Tuesday night, Detroit scored what was obviously the biggest win of the year. It’s worth dwelling upon for a bit.

ALDS Game 4: Tigers 8, A’s 6.

inning 1

Man on 3B tout suite. How does that run not score? In the hole right away. Futility right away in the bottom half. Not an encouraging start. Though Cabrera did hit the ball about as far as he’s liable to these days.

inning 2

Oh my, is Fister skating on thin ice. By the grace of his own defense and that of Hunter, he escapes. Fister is at 53 pitches through two. The urgent need to not allow even one more run is palpable. Fielder makes his usual effort to get out of the way of a pitch, which is a good thing. Martinez striking out on three pitches is a weird thing. Don’t poo-poo a 5-4-3 DP just because it’s against the Tigers; 3B Donaldson starts a nice one. Inning over, runner and false hope erased.

inning 3

Our spirits are lifted with the fine DP that Fielder starts and the strikeout of Moss. Little momentum shift? But the Tigers at bats are poor, the typical poor at bats that these guys have when they have them, aside from Avila at least making contact (only to hit into the shift).

inning 4

Only Grizzly Adams mars a good inning. Fister is settling down a bit, not a moment too soon. The radio guys remark upon how tardy Jackson’s swings are and how he’s (obvi) not picking up the ball well lately. Cabrera’s out is a weak fly. The Tigers have been no-hit through four.

inning 5

Crisp can’t be stopped, but there are two outs. And then the Lowrie HR that just clears RF despite a valiant effort from Hunter. Honestly, after 4½ of this… if wasn’t for the DTW call of duty, I would have turned the game off and gone to bed at this point. 3-0 equals over. Ovah, baby. Then… it all started with a bloop (Dan Dickerson). Peralta was HUGE. Storybook time, ramifications for 2014. Can you believe it? The game is tied at 3! But the Tigers’ 7-8-9  (and why on earth is Avila #7?) essentially repeat their last at bats, and we end up with a reboot rather than a pulling away from. Nervous. Could Fister just please take a seat now, do you suppose?

inning 6

But Fister comes back out and finishes strong (at 103 pitches, he’s gotta be done) with three groundball outs. The all-important shutdown inning. Looking back now, that’s HUGE in an understated way. Cabrera makes a fine play at 3B, not his only one of the game. But Straily strikes out the side around Cabrera’s postseason streak-extending single. It’s the 6th inning. They (Detroit) still haven’t figured him (Straily) out, and you don’t get the feeling they will.

inning 7

Although the Tigers had had a few guys warm up in the bullpen, it was pretty clear that no one but Max was coming in at this juncture. It was nothing but textbook manufacturing of a run, but in this high-stakes context, a 20-pitch “OK” inning felt like a blowup and a betrayal from Scherzer. One huge run down AGAIN. Were your hopes fading? Mine were. The A’s bullpen was upon us with their biggest arm. But all-fastball Doolittle was in for a surprise. Leading off, second pitch, Martinez hit the controversial opposite field HR to tie it at 4. HUGE. If you saw it and worried about the review, imagine how it was to not see it and worry about the review. But the HR stood. Storybook Jhonny raised the roof with a double. If you thought having Avila attempt a sac bunt was a ludicrous call, I’m with you. Alex can hit a groundball to the right side, Jim Leyland. Have ya noticed? When he’s not striking out, it’s about all he does. Anyway, the rally was fading away when #9 Iglesias drew a walk. How often do we see both Tigers and opponents walk a #9 inexplicably with some big arm on the mound? It’s a kind of syndrome, I’m telling you. Jackson still can’t see the ball but manages to shatter his bat and send a flare into shallow RF. Crowd goes wild, Tigers lead, but Hunter strikes out and leaves us biting our nails.

inning 8

Max was lost to start the inning. Bad leadoff walk to Moss. Hunter, having a busy day, commits an error on the Cespedes single to make it a “double.” Now an IBB is in order. Bases loaded with no outs. Sounds familiar. Is Max really to blame for this unbelievably bad situation? Yes. And he pitches out of it in dramatic fashion. We’ll remember that and forget the rest. High drama against Reddick and Vogt. Tiger-killer Callaspo hits it hard. Without a well-positioned Jackson there to get it… let’s not even think about it. The Tigers come up clinging to the lead. My money would’ve been on continued clinging. BUT THEY SCORED 3 AFTER TWO WERE OUT! Yeah, it was an Oakland bullpen meltdown this evening. But the Tigers weren’t giving that ground back. Infante’s double past a diving Donaldson was HUGE and would get even bigger very soon. Iglesias should bunt more often. Like, all the time.

inning 9

With a 4-run cushion out of nowhere, we can breathe easy, or easier, right? Wrong. Crisp again. Coco Crisp, the guy who doesn’t even need Denard F. Span’s middle initial. Maybe Span should be Denard C.C. Span. It’s always Crisp. Why does he hate us so? Crisp was Crisp. Benoit was not crisp. Two outs, job almost done. Nope. Pitch up, hit through the box, two runs in. It’s unraveling again. Can’t it end well? With Benoit’s strikeout of Smith, some measure of justice is restored to the world. Tigers win. Can we take a Game 5 like this? We might have to. Tigers win and it’s all good. After some rest and perspective, anyway.

* Now, about that Martinez HR controversy. I don’t think it was clear that Reddick would have made the catch without any interference. In fact, I don’t think he would have. I’m relieved, because for me, this sort of thing can cast a pall over a game result. Whichever way it might go. Gift doesn’t sit a whole lot better than robbed with me.

* I think it’s a good move by Bob Melvin to go with Sonny Gray for Game 5. I don’t think it’s gonna work, but in an unbiased way (seriously), I admire the move as I’d admire the same move from Leyland. Not that I find that easy to imagine.

* Too bad about the Pirates. Really don’t want the Tigers to face St. Louis in the WS. Don’t know if it’s a better matchup than the Dodgers or not. Must be the Ghost Of ’06.

* Any Game 5 lineup controversies afoot? Hard to see anything different happening, though Leyland suggests he might be tinkering.

* Any trepidation about Verlander rather than Scherzer for Game 5 starter? None here.

* Any worries about Benoit? No more than usual here. The rest of the bullpen? Well, you know… Why don’t we just have 8 or 9 or 13 innings of Verlander instead?

The Tigers have a knack for the unexpectedly positive, it seems to me. Or is that just because we find the negatives so predictable? They pulled out Game 4. That was really something. Optimism, pessimism, underdogs, favorites – I have no idea. I’m just glad they made it to Game 5.

 
 

{ 158 comments… read them below or add one }

JimEggersUSMC October 10, 2013 at 12:46 am

Hey SL, keep your head up, you are due!

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Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi October 10, 2013 at 8:18 am

Well said Jim! Watching Scherzer parade to the dugout in Game 4 was worth the admisson to the entire season! More for Game 5!

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Smoking Loon October 10, 2013 at 7:04 pm

Thanks, but I’d feel much more confident with Coleman. Maybe the law of averages is our friend in this case, however.

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Coleman October 10, 2013 at 3:13 am

I know you think Infante is a little overrated (he IS a .318 hitter you know), but once again he had what turned out to be the game-winning hit. We’d be dead without him. And we won’t be about to afford him for next season, so enjoy it while you can.

I guess what I like best about him is that he seems immune to the team-wide slumps that hit the Tigers sometimes.

Who had the most hits in the 2012 World Series? (Tie: Omar Infante and Delmon Young).

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Smoking Loon October 10, 2013 at 6:45 pm

I think my stance on Infante was influenced by some “impact” stats from earlier in the season that made his good numbers a bit soft. He’s been better than that for quite a while now. He inspires confidence these days, and I sure wish he would bat in front of Avila rather than behind. Or lead off.

Offhand, I’d say his weakness is that he doesn’t go opposite field effectively. (This without analysis – maybe I’m dead wrong.) He seems to fly out to RF a lot when he goes for something off the plate outside.

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Coleman October 10, 2013 at 3:22 am

.138 BA .194 OBP .332 OPS
16Ks 1 RBI 0 SB 1 CS

That’s the combined line of our #1 and #2 hitters, and we still managed to take this to a game 5. We should consider ourselves lucky!

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StorminNorman$ October 10, 2013 at 8:18 am

that’s got to change, or…

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Smoking Loon October 10, 2013 at 6:46 pm

… they’ll win anyway. Maybe.

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StorminNorman$ October 10, 2013 at 10:39 am

I know JL would never do it, but I would consider changing the lineup today against rookie Sonny Gray. DET hitters let him get way-too-comfortable and into a rhythm in his last outing.

DET hitters should take a page from the NYY playbook, and step out of the box several times during AB’s – maybe even get something (bug, dust?) in a hitter’s eye that requires the trainer to come out and look at it…the point being, make don’t let this rook get into a rhythm. The DET hitters that have trouble hitting with 2 strikes (i.e. Jackson) should jump on the first pitch (‘if’ its a good pitch to hit) while others should take until they get a strike.

My proposed (imaginary) lineup for tonight: 1) Hunter, 2) Peralta, 3) Fielder, 4) Cabrera, 5) VMart, 6) Infante, 7) Avila, 8) Iglesias, 9) Jackson

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Coleman October 10, 2013 at 11:46 am

I’d swap Peralta and Infante there. Infante has a little bit of Polanco in him–he always makes contact. In fact he has only struck out 9.2%, lowest on the team. Along with Victor at 9.3% they are a mile better than anyone else on the team at putting the ball in play; it would be nice to have him in a spot where the guys on base ahead of him can actually move.

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Coleman October 10, 2013 at 11:49 am

Of course we all know what the actual lineup is going to be, right? I’d also like to get Pena’s bat into the lineup, but if Verlander would rather have Alex behind the plate then I would go with Alex.

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StorminNorman$ October 10, 2013 at 12:08 pm

agreed, we all know what lineup JL will go with…

I would also like to see Pena’s bat in the lineup for one of these playoff games – defensively I think its ‘a wash’ (w/Avila), but figured since Gray is a RHP (and Avila bats left) and JV would likely want Avila catching, so… Avila gets his chance to be the hero tonight – I heard he ‘is due to run into one’

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Smoking Loon October 10, 2013 at 6:51 pm

My imaginary wish lineup for a day (I’ll stick with the program as far as actual announced starters goes):

2B Infante
1B Fielder
3B Cabrera
DH Martinez
RF Hunter
SS Peralta
CF Jackson
C Avila
LF Kelly

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Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi October 10, 2013 at 12:13 pm
Smoking Loon October 10, 2013 at 7:01 pm

I agree with the thrust of the article, but I don’t think that Leyland was unusually ingenious in Game 5. Sticking with Scherzer – obvious. Jackson broken bat RBI single – luck. Pinch runners, OK, good, a bit of a risk to pull out TWO good bats with the possibility of extras. Perez was more a payoff than Dirks, I’d say.

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Smoking Loon October 10, 2013 at 7:02 pm

Game 4, I meant. Although I suppose, if all goes well, I could write the same paragraph with a few changes in details for Game 5.

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Smoking Loon October 10, 2013 at 11:49 pm

I agree with the thrust of the article, but I don’t think that Leyland was unusually ingenious in Game 4. Sticking with Verlander – obvious. Infante RBI grounder – luck. Cabrera home run, OK, good, a bit of a risk to spend more than one run in an inning. Hunter scored before Cabrera, I’d say.

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Smoking Loon October 10, 2013 at 11:50 pm

Game 5, I meant. Although I suppose, if all went well, I would have written the same paragraph with a few changes in details for Game 4.

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StorminNorman$ October 10, 2013 at 4:49 pm

Tigers’ lineup for tonight, the Peralta at SS and DKelly in LF would be a bit of a head-scratcher had the lineup card not been filled out by JL
1. CF Austin Jackson
2. RF Torii Hunter
3. 3B Miguel Cabrera
4. 1B Prince Fielder
5. DH Victor Martinez
6. SS Jhonny Peralta
7. C Alex Avila
8. 2B Omar Infante
9. LF Don Kelly

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Kevin in Dallas October 10, 2013 at 4:58 pm

Considering 1) how many Ks JV gets, and 2) the prodigious rate at which the A’s are striking out, this makes sense to me. The defensive effect is probably the same assuming fewer chances (losing Iglesias, getting Kelly) and the offensive effect is better – Peralta + a lefty.

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StorminNorman$ October 10, 2013 at 5:24 pm

i’m with you… but that’s assuming Kelly is actually a net improvement on offense

I hope Kelly proves to be an offensive dynamo and JL is lauded as genius…

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Smoking Loon October 10, 2013 at 7:15 pm

Subtract the bunting skill and Hernan Perez is a better hitter than Iglesias. Kelly is *far* better.

Iglesias is AAA as a full-swing hitter. It’s starting to drive me a bit nuts that Leyland is wasting the fine talent he does have. Being able to bunt for a hit is a tremendous asset. You don’t have to settle for a sac bunt from Iglesias. Squeeze plays? Do it, every time. EVERY time.

I hope Iglesias will become a better hitter, but that’s not going to happen this season. Utilize the current skill set to the max. (Watch him hit a PH home run tonight or something…)

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Coleman October 10, 2013 at 5:02 pm

I’d rather see Kelly in center and Dirks in Left. Austin will contend for another Sombrero today.

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Smoking Loon October 10, 2013 at 6:53 pm

Not so radical, actually. In the real world, this looks like “shaming” Jackson, I guess. Make that the real Leyland world.

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Coleman October 10, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Austin Jackson has 106 career postseason at bats. He has struck out 45 times. Just sit and think about that a minute. That has to be some sort of record. That is against 15 walks. And we keep batting him lead off. Good luck with that.

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StorminNorman$ October 10, 2013 at 5:17 pm

mindboggling! essentially 1 out of every 2 ABs… even Inge might get a chuckle out of that K-clip

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Smoking Loon October 10, 2013 at 7:21 pm

Insane. I had no idea. Wow.

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Coleman October 10, 2013 at 9:16 pm

Make that 46 of 107.

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Coleman October 10, 2013 at 10:07 pm

Make that 47 of 109. Congratulations are now in order: Austin Jackson owns the ALDS strikeout record.

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Smoking Loon October 10, 2013 at 11:53 pm

Does that include strikeouts from the *other* ALDSeries? Seems low.

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StorminNorman$ October 10, 2013 at 5:48 pm

http://scores.nbcsports.msnbc.com/mlb/getleaders.asp?rank=062

this site has a whole bunch of various regular season stats (scroll down the drop-down) to consider – and I stumbled onto this site looking for how many times AJackson swings and misses; and oddly enough AJ was not on the top-20 list but VMart was 4th in the AL in “% Swings that Missed” (surprising)…but, VMart was also 16th in the AL in “% Swings Put into Play” – and Omar Infante was 2nd in the AL ‘% swings put into play’. Keppinger (CWS) was first in both categories: “% swings that missed” and “% swings put into play”

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Coleman October 10, 2013 at 5:59 pm

Infante and Martinez both strike out less than 10% at bats…that’s outstanding.

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Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi October 10, 2013 at 8:05 pm

One year and a day since the last Tigers v. A’s game five. A rookie also started for the A’s….Parker! Go Tigers!

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judpma October 10, 2013 at 8:14 pm

hey Jackson…the idea in this game is to try and hit the ball!!!….are you even trying?????

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judpma October 10, 2013 at 8:18 pm

that would have been a can of corn for Iglesis..going out…we got lucky already!

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Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi October 10, 2013 at 8:21 pm

Sweet! 10 pitch inning for JV!

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StorminNorman$ October 10, 2013 at 8:28 pm

the ESPN gamecast feed is about 2 seconds ahead of TBS live broadcast here… interesting – I see the pitch before it happens on tv

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Smoking Loon October 10, 2013 at 11:32 pm

You’re onto Miggy’s secret, although he doesn’t use any electronics.

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StorminNorman$ October 10, 2013 at 8:37 pm

some would call running Fielder ‘aggressive’, others would call it silly

a strikeout pitcher, and slow Fielder…c’mon

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Coleman October 10, 2013 at 9:19 pm

I call it #%^*!. I can’t find stats for this, but I’d be surprised if the Tigers don’t lead MLB in the strike-him-out-throw-him-out DP. Just STOP it already!

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Smoking Loon October 10, 2013 at 11:33 pm

Dumb. Free out. Hated it.

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judpma October 10, 2013 at 8:39 pm

shoot Fielder was only out by 80 feet..that was close for A Tiger runner!

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judpma October 10, 2013 at 8:43 pm

how many months has it been since the Pussycats have scored with Verlander on the hill???

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StorminNorman$ October 10, 2013 at 8:50 pm

I sure hope this ump ALSO give JV all those low strike calls

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Coleman October 10, 2013 at 8:54 pm

Jackson is historically awful.

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Coleman October 10, 2013 at 8:56 pm

Jackson should be on the bench today.

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Smoking Loon October 10, 2013 at 11:44 pm

Could he just play CF and not bat? Is it illegal to go with an 8-man batting order? Can’t you forfeit an at bat? Oh wait, that’s already happening.

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judpma October 10, 2013 at 8:59 pm

Verlander hits 9th inning home run and Benoit closes the door in the bottom of the 9th as the Tigers WIN 1-0 to move on!!!

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Tbone October 10, 2013 at 9:00 pm

I can barely breathe. Please score Tigers!

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Tbone October 10, 2013 at 9:09 pm

Just needed to check in to make it happen!

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StorminNorman$ October 10, 2013 at 9:10 pm

timely T-bone…from Cabrera also

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judpma October 10, 2013 at 9:09 pm

frickin…Miggy didn’t need legs on that…Huuuuuge!!!!!!

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StorminNorman$ October 10, 2013 at 9:10 pm

NICE!!!

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Kevin in Dallas October 10, 2013 at 9:12 pm

Most confusing HR call by both Dan and Jim that I’ve heard in a while.

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Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi October 10, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Yeah….I was thinking the same…never heard Dan do that one. Must be a strong breeze bllowing in from left.

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judpma October 10, 2013 at 9:15 pm

where is Gray’s curve ball today????? he is about 90% fastball

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StorminNorman$ October 10, 2013 at 9:23 pm

and Infante (who doesn’t miss often) missed a straight fastball on the 2-0 count… a big hit there would have put the Tigers in the fabled cat-bird seat

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judpma October 10, 2013 at 9:22 pm

Infante goes after 2-1 pitch way out of the zone because thats what the Tigers do!!! huge part of their hitting problem!

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StorminNorman$ October 10, 2013 at 9:24 pm

JV needs a 1-2-3 shutdown inning here

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Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi October 10, 2013 at 9:31 pm

There’s four 1,2,3 innings for ya!

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judpma October 10, 2013 at 9:32 pm

JV looks extra intense…..reminds me of League of their Own when she says ” hey Jimmy you look like sh*t”..and he turns and says “Were gonna win!!!! were gonna Winnnn!

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judpma October 10, 2013 at 9:37 pm

Austin Jackson the new Strikeout record holder…congrats….you suck!!!!

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Tbone October 10, 2013 at 9:53 pm

Okay – coming back in for some positive juju. Runz please!

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judpma October 10, 2013 at 10:00 pm

do you think you could scrounge up a couple add ons..I know its hard work…but this is actually important!!!!!…yes that means scoriing in more thane one inning

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judpma October 10, 2013 at 10:02 pm

thank you!

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judpma October 10, 2013 at 10:05 pm

pinch hitter…pinch hitter…no not frickin jackson

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Tbone October 10, 2013 at 10:08 pm

Worked again! Still nit exactly comfortable yet, though.

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judpma October 10, 2013 at 10:17 pm

Coco who????..atta boy JV!!!!!

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Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi October 10, 2013 at 10:18 pm

Wow…one walk for Oakland and I go gaga….come on Verlander is pitching a great game and is control! Let’s score some more!

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judpma October 10, 2013 at 10:28 pm

3 more innings JV!!!

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judpma October 10, 2013 at 10:41 pm

an amazing job under the circumstances..now lets just win…sure glad Verlander is on our side!!!!!

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judpma October 10, 2013 at 10:49 pm

2 more innings JV!!!

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judpma October 10, 2013 at 11:00 pm

1 more inning JV!!!

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Coleman October 10, 2013 at 11:02 pm

Now that they have a 2nd hit, I’ll say it–Iglesias would have had that first hit.

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Smoking Loon October 10, 2013 at 11:36 pm

Dan & Jim considered and rejected this possibility. Sure you’re not exaggerating? Or pulling my leg?

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Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi October 10, 2013 at 11:12 pm

Hold on to your Strohs….here we go!

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judpma October 10, 2013 at 11:17 pm

let the real game …begin!!!

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Coleman October 10, 2013 at 11:19 pm

Austin making extra sure he has the K record.

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Coleman October 10, 2013 at 11:23 pm

I wouldn’t have minded Verlander coming back out for the 9th.

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Smoking Loon October 11, 2013 at 12:50 am

Me, either.

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scott October 10, 2013 at 11:28 pm

LEYLAND, YOU ARE AN ASS!!!!

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Smoking Loon October 11, 2013 at 12:04 am

Leyland, you magnificent barstard! You, too, Joaquin!

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judpma October 10, 2013 at 11:28 pm

WOWwwWwW!!!…who would have thunk it three days ago…..we live to fight another day boys!!!….thanks JV and Miggy!!!!!!!!!!!

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PHToy in HK October 10, 2013 at 11:29 pm

Nothing is ever simple, but at least they won!

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Smoking Loon October 11, 2013 at 12:02 am

Simpler than we thought, though. Never behind. Imagine that.

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Smoking Loon October 10, 2013 at 11:29 pm

Yes! They did it!

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judpma October 10, 2013 at 11:30 pm

No offense to Max…but JV you da MAN!!!!!!

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Smoking Loon October 10, 2013 at 11:39 pm

Peralta getting the starts at SS the rest of the way except when Dougie’s on the hill?

Kelly/Dirks get some starts in CF, Jackson in later in the game if he asks politely?

Sanchez – Scherzer – Verlander – Fister to sweep the Red Sox?

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Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi October 10, 2013 at 11:40 pm

Great job! Who is series’s MVP?

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Smoking Loon October 10, 2013 at 11:41 pm

Verlander & Peralta & Martinez. It’s a tie.

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Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi October 10, 2013 at 11:44 pm

Prince started it all with a bloop hit!

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Smoking Loon October 10, 2013 at 11:53 pm

That’s true!

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Jerry the Tiger Fan October 11, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Does MLB assign a MVP for divisional series or is that reserved for the ALCS, NLCS, and World Series? I didn’t hear one announced last night, but if I had a vote it would go to Verlander. 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 15 IP, 21K. It doesn’t get much better than that for pitchers. Offensive MVP was Peralta with a .417 BA and a team high 5 RBI. Turns out DD made the right call in not following the Giants example from 2012. Adding Peralta to the postseason roster was likely the difference from rehashing a disappointing season today or looking forward to the ALCS versus Boston.

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Coleman October 10, 2013 at 11:42 pm

Got a text from my Red Sox friend: “haha, this means we don’t have to face Verlander until Game 3.” Despite the CY season by Max, Verlander is still the feared one.

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Jason October 10, 2013 at 11:46 pm

Yaaaah!!! Tigers win! Rooooarrrrrrr! Huzzah! Magnifico!

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Coleman October 10, 2013 at 11:51 pm

I’ll second that!!

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Smoking Loon October 10, 2013 at 11:55 pm

Huzzah is my favorite. Has anyone actually uttered this word, ever? Huzzah!

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Coleman October 11, 2013 at 12:15 am

I like saying it backwards to see if anyone notices. I so the same with “hurrah.”

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Smoking Loon October 11, 2013 at 12:34 am

So that’s why I’ve never recognized it in speech. People are more subtle than I’ve given them credit for. I’m going to have to rethink this whole life thing.

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Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi October 11, 2013 at 9:24 am

I do recall as a young boy, my Mother reminding me to stay away from Huzzah-type girls. So instead I played baseball and followed the Tigers.

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Smoking Loon October 12, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Give us an example a Huzzah-type girl. No one ever warned me. I’m trying to figure out where I went astray.

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JimEggersUSMC October 10, 2013 at 11:51 pm

All the kudos for JV and Miggy are great and well deserved, but in my book ALL the credit goes to Smoking Loon!

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Smoking Loon October 10, 2013 at 11:57 pm

I couldn’t have done it without you, Jim. You are the Benoit to my Verlander. Don’t take that the wrong way.

Take that, Coleman Scherzer! Oh, we’re on the same team.

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Coleman October 11, 2013 at 12:06 am

Last time I make myself available in the bullpen for you, you ingrate!

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Smoking Loon October 11, 2013 at 12:17 am

Oh yeah, like that wasn’t just an ego-boosting star turn to grab attention and avoid the pressure of starting Game 5. Way to load the bases, by the way. Won a Game 5 lately, Cy?

Punk.

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Coleman October 11, 2013 at 12:24 am

Well that didn’t work, did it (see below). That was sort of like Victor Martinez staring down the catcher while Balfour swears at him. Oh well.

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Smoking Loon October 11, 2013 at 12:24 am

Oh, so you can’t face me in the correct reply-to thread, can you, ya coward. Yeah. Stay down there. I’ll stoop to your level.

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Smoking Loon October 11, 2013 at 12:28 am

Oh, so you’re back here again. What the #&^%# are you lookin’ at?

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Jason October 10, 2013 at 11:52 pm

More sober thoughts:

1) Leyland deserves a TON of credit for playing Peralta at SS and Kelly in left. The defense felt much more stable in that alignment.

2) Verlander is the best Tigers pitcher of all time, ahead of Newhouser and Morris.

2) Brandon Moss, not AJax, is the new ALDS record holder for series strikeouts.

3) Who starts Game 1 in Boston? I’d suppose Sanchez, even with his dud of an outing in Game 3. Let’s give him a second chance to pitch well.

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Smoking Loon October 10, 2013 at 11:59 pm

1) Shoulda done it right away.

2) Yes.

2) Really? I’d really like AJax to be the best at *something.*

3) Sanchez, totally.

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Coleman October 11, 2013 at 12:13 am

2) Nope, they were tied, then Ajax took the record, then Moss tied him, then Moss surpassed him. But in the top of the 9th Ajax, with one last heroic effort, re-tied him. No matter, I’m sure one of them can do better than 13 measly strikeouts next year.

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Coleman October 11, 2013 at 12:19 am

And it’s easy to keep it up for one series. But Moss can’t touch 48 Ks in 111 career postseason ABs.With at least 4 more games ahead, Jackson has a shot at hitting 50%.

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Coleman October 11, 2013 at 12:22 am

We all know why it was arranged for you to start Game 5. Scared to Start in Boston, eh? Well, whatever is best for the team works for me.

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Smoking Loon October 11, 2013 at 12:22 am

Would Leyland consider sitting him for even one game, though?

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Coleman October 11, 2013 at 12:24 am

Nope.

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Smoking Loon October 11, 2013 at 12:27 am

There you go with your “team player” thing again. Everyone knows it’s a sham. You covet every one of those wins as your own and you know it.

We *are* being Max and Justin here, right? Although I suppose it would work just as well with some ambiguity.

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Coleman October 11, 2013 at 12:32 am

I’m just sayin’ I won the regular season and I’m 2-0 in the postseason, so go and win a couple more before you go try to stare me down.

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Coleman October 11, 2013 at 12:34 am

I’m hoping there are 2 series left in the Postseason Game Post League btw, so there should be enough time to catch up!

Smoking Loon October 11, 2013 at 12:39 am

Well, FYI, I’ve got as many total wins as you, and none of mine came against the Astros. Also, I’m not a rookie. I don’t take that %&^#.

Branching into schizophrenia here…

Jerry the Tiger Fan October 11, 2013 at 3:10 pm

I wouldn’t sit him, but moving him to 8th or 9th in the batting order makes perfect sense. Infante can slide into the leadoff spot. Omar can’t do any worse than Ajax did and its likely that our offense gets at least a slight boost with that lineup change. Jackson is far and away our best defensive outfielder and I don’t want anybody else playing CF for us in his spot, especially in the games at Comerica.

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Smoking Loon October 12, 2013 at 12:11 pm

I like Omar to lead off. I wouldn’t be too worried, myself, about Dirks or Kelly in CF. They are quite good.

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judpma October 11, 2013 at 12:04 am

Kinko’s called they are having a problem with Mumbles rotation for the next series.

whoever plays left is over-rated at Fenway…only meaningful in Detroit…my sister can play balls off that wall!…And if we are forgetting about Iglesis for the Boston series it is a mistake!!!!

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Smoking Loon October 11, 2013 at 12:21 am

Iglesias can play SS *and* LF at Fenway. Frees up Peralta to help Miggy at 3B.

It’s “Kinko,” by the way. Heh.

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Kevin in Dallas October 11, 2013 at 12:14 am

Props to Sonny Gray. One day he’ll have a performance like this.

Smith just missed that last pitch. Benoit wasn’t at his best these last two games. But he got it done. I’ll take it.

I’m happy for the win, but we’ve been here before. Still need 8 wins.

Best part of all of this is in-depth analysis and focus on the major networks for a few weeks.

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JimEggersUSMC October 11, 2013 at 12:25 am

True as far as the number of wins, but we are here and have the chance to go back to the series, world type. Lots of other teams and their players are golfing and huntin and fishin.

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Coleman October 11, 2013 at 12:26 am

When Smith hit that pitch I had a half-formed expletive in my mouth. Then I saw Benoit pointing up and knew he didn’t quite get it.

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StorminNorman$ October 11, 2013 at 12:38 am

My MVP for this series is clearly VMart – sure Peralta had a great series at the plate and his 3R HR made it possible to win game 4…and Verlander was outstanding in both games.

I haven’t seen any sports-media make a big deal about it, but up until the little dust up between VMart and Balfour, DET had kinda been playing like punks, they scored 3 in the first in game 1 and went into cruise-control and barely squeaked by; they got manhandled by a rookie pitcher in game 2, then in game 3 the A’s handled them with relative ease, but in the 9th inning VMart took issue w/Balfour’s macho antics (terrible name for a pitcher [ball four] by the way…on par w/Homer Bailey). Whether VMart intended to or not, DET came out in game 4 (sure I know not until the 5th inning) and began playing like ‘the reigning AL Champion’ rather than just some team happy to make the playoffs.

DET has some very good players and a lot of talent, but I believe they are lacking in steady positive/motivating leadership, Hunter has filled some of the void, but I believe VMart has really stepped up in this area – especially with DET’s Latin players. So having said that, I’m going to believe that VMart (as a leader) knew his team needed a wake up call, and he used an easy target (Balfour) as his catalyst to flex back and let Balfour and the A’s know that he and DET will not be intimidated… and I believe this seemingly non-event (w/Balfour) somehow gave his team (DET) a much needed reality check.

Anyway, that’s my story and i’m sticking to it.

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Coleman October 11, 2013 at 12:44 am

VMart DID intend it–Victor and Torii Hunter held a players only meeting between Game 4. It seemed to work. Like I said in my post yesterday, the interesting thing about Game 3 was that they lost ANGRY, which you don’t see from the Tigers much. There is an old saying about letting sleeping tigers lie; Balfour gave the snoozing beast a few kicks. Thank you very much Mr. #*@!.

There was much made last season about Martinez being the (missing) clubhouse leader, but you can see that he really is (first guy Miggy went to during the celebration: V-Mart). That look on his face in the 9th inning spoke volumes; pure intensity. I almost wish we didn’t have an off day tomorrow.

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Coleman October 11, 2013 at 12:45 am

That should read “before” Game 4.

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Coleman October 11, 2013 at 12:48 am

I agree, Balfour is a terrible name for a pitcher. And if you have the misfortune of being named Balfour, you couldn’t pick a worse first name than “Grant”. Grant Balfour! That’s Australian for “intentional walk.”

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Smoking Loon October 11, 2013 at 1:00 am

I like “between Game 4″ better. It gives me a guy feeling.

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Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi October 11, 2013 at 9:33 am

His full name is “Grant Robert Oscar Balfour” or GROB!

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T Smith October 11, 2013 at 9:59 am

I agree 100% with this MVP analysis.

Honorable mention goes in a tie to Peralta and JV.

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Jerry the Tiger Fan October 11, 2013 at 3:14 pm

I agree that VMart’s dust-up with Balfour seemed to ignite a dead-in-the-water team. However, I cannot give him the series MVP over Verlander or Peralta. Verlander was dominant in both of his starts and Peralta was our leader in batting average and RBI. My hockey-style three starts for this series would be:

1. Verlander
2. Peralta
3. Crisp

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Smoking Loon October 12, 2013 at 1:34 pm

I like the story of losing angry, clubhouse players-only meetings, inspiration and motivation and so on, but really, these things look like causes only after the fact, even if the players buy into it themselves. Every player has every reason to want to win every game. Intentions are good, motivation high, and yet chance intervenes to be the difference between a sharp single and a tough out, between a good pitch and a walkoff hit, and between a ball fouled at the plate or skied to the warning track or hit into the seats.

Detroit didn’t win the series by luck. They pitched better, and ended up hitting “less badly” than the A’s. But the pivotal Game 4 doesn’t provide very strong evidence for anything emotional as a factor. It was *that* close to going down the tubes, and had they lost it in 4, we’d be tipping our caps to the better team, and the Balfour-Martinez thing would be a footnote about two hotheads.

It’s always impossible to say what *would have* happened. I don’t think the Martinez HR and the ensuing review and call gets credit for subsequent events. But it was pretty big. I think it was a HR no matter what, myself. For this eleventh-hour achievement and good hitting throughout the series, I think Martinez deserves at least equal credit as our ALDS Tigers MVP.

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Coleman October 11, 2013 at 1:03 am

Leyland confirms he will hand the ball to Anibal: Sanchez going in Game 1.

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judpma October 11, 2013 at 1:05 am

lets get Belfour and Pierzinski together for a little fun!!!

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Smoking Loon October 11, 2013 at 1:08 am

How about Balfour and Carlos Quentin?

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Coleman October 11, 2013 at 1:11 am

Balfour and anybody with Farnsworth racing in from the bullpen.

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judpma October 11, 2013 at 9:00 am

what has Pena done to get in the Capt Mumbles dog house….its not like Avila is tearing the cover off the ball. Pena has done an excellent job hitting most of the year….Avila looks like Jackson against LHPitchers….

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Smoking Loon October 12, 2013 at 12:14 pm

Pena virtual disappearance seems hard to figure. Is Avila’s game-calling/all-around receiving that much better? Do the starters feel that way, possibly?

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StorminNorman$ October 11, 2013 at 12:28 pm

in last night’s game they showed Dombrowski a few times, did you notice one of the guys sitting behind him was Asst. GM, Al Avila? …probably just a coincidence ;)

Avila is hitting .133 in this year’s post-season – and his numbers against LHP for the year: .139 BA, .227 OBP, .228 SLG

Pena vs LHP: .264 BA, .278 OBP, .330 SLG
Pena vs RHP: .325 BA, .346 OBP, .455 SLG

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Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi October 11, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Correct me if I am wrong but I thought that was the Strategy Expert and Bilfer sitting behind Dombrowski?

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Coleman October 12, 2013 at 10:50 am

Billfer was last seen running a gas station in Arizona with Elvis.

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Smoking Loon October 12, 2013 at 12:23 pm

No, that was TSE at the Sedona Sunoco with The King (who only works there part-time as a mechanic). The resemblance is uncanny.

It does seem unfair that Al Avila manages to hold onto his job only by virtue of his son the team catcher.

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StorminNorman$ October 11, 2013 at 6:54 pm

DET – BOS rotations are set:
game 1: Sanchez – Lester
game 2: Scherzer – Buchholz
game 3: Verlander – Lackey
game 4: Fister – Peavy (or “the Jakester” as Hawk affectionately refers to him as).

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Coleman October 12, 2013 at 10:48 am

Stock up on Rolaids: Phil Coke has been activated for the ALCS (replaces Putkonen).

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Smoking Loon October 12, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Putkonen can only blame himself. He couldn’t get anyone out in the ALDS.

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Smoking Loon October 12, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Al-Al v. current Red Soxes:

http://bbref.com/pi/shareit/ZOaiX

Cokey v. current Red Soxes:

http://bbref.com/pi/shareit/KR3pf

I thought I’d drum up the AlburCokey thing, but Coke has been quite good v. Boston hitters, really. Al-Al, not so much.

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Coleman October 12, 2013 at 2:40 pm

They may have added him just to entertain the Red Sox fans: http://tinyurl.com/kttslvq

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Smoking Loon October 12, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Ha. I remember that article.

Fenway Park hasn’t been good for Detroit 2006-2013. I base the following in part on previous research – if that was wrong, this is wrong – but:

v. Boston at Fenway: 8-20
v. Boston at Comerica: 15-13

Check my work: http://tinyurl.com/l5ue8jn

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Smoking Loon October 12, 2013 at 1:52 pm

http://tinyurl.com/oxuqg6z

Quintin Berry not making the team out of ST is one of my least favorite Leyland decisions ever.

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Coleman October 12, 2013 at 2:36 pm

I think the team with the greatest command of irony will win this series. With that in mind, if Detroit becomes the first team to ever catch Quintin Berry stealing, we’ve got this thing.

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Smoking Loon October 12, 2013 at 3:52 pm

A HR from Iglesias, or even just a base hit, might also seal it. Against Peavey, maybe.

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Jerry the Tiger Fan October 12, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Really?? I liked Quintin Berry last year, but he was basically cut in favor of Tui who gave us some needed oomph early in the year when we were struggling. Its easy to forget that Tui played very well for us thru July after his struggles in August and September.

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Smoking Loon October 12, 2013 at 7:02 pm

No, it was not Tui vs. Berry, but Berry vs. Kelly. Tui was in as RH power guy & junior partner in the probable LF platoon. Kelly won out as Versatility Guy over Speed & Spark Guy Berry, a question of Leyland’s preferences rather than a competition for a certain defined spot. I haven’t forgotten anything about Tuiasosopo, who I liked in ST off the bat and who I favored on the postseason roster over a pinch runner.

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Jerry the Tiger Fan October 12, 2013 at 6:38 pm

Only an hour and a half until first pitch! What? No pregame writeup for Game 1 of the ALDS?? You guys are slacking over there. :-)

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Kevin in Dallas October 12, 2013 at 6:43 pm

Ask…

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