Game 2013. Playoffs 8: Red Sox at Tigers

ALCS: Detroit 1, Boston 1. ALCS Game 2: Boston 6, Detroit 5.

Painful. The loss Sunday night is one game I will not review in its entirety. During the regular season, there was at least one (Toronto 8, Detroit 6) and probably a couple other games I forget where a sizable lead vanished and left us with a kicked in the gut feeling. Those games pale by comparison. I will focus on the positive. Most of Game 2 was the story of a win in the making, a win that would have sent us into a stratosphere of dizzy optimism. Let’s not deny that it was a very nice ride.

* Max Scherzer had a game for the ages. 7 IP, 2 H (5.2 of no-hit ball), 13 K, and 1 cheap run (unfortunately one that would prove costly, depending on how you look at it). Don’t file this one under “no decision,” but under “seven innings of dominating WIN where he positively baffled the best offense in the American League, in the playoffs, on their home turf.” If there was any debate about the AL Cy Young, it’s over.

* Miguel Cabrera hit a home run over the Green Monster, and crushed another pitch that would have been a home run anywhere else but dead center. His power stroke has returned at a most opportune time, not a moment too soon. If it’s back to stay, there’s no need to ask if it will make a difference.

* Jhonny Peralta hasn’t missed a beat. Quite remarkable. There has to be some question, to my mind at least, that the Tigers might want to consider making room for Peralta in 2014. I don’t think a “thanks for October, so long” (a la Delmon Young) is in order here. It’s neat that the big generators in the postseason to date have been the two Comeback Kids, Victor and Jhonny.

* Alex Avila certainly has a knack for “running into one” – if that’s what it is – at some of the bestest times. Evidently the receiver of choice for the best starting rotation in Tigers history, it would also seem that we can’t write off that kind of power (his first pitch, two-run blast to RF was Ortiz-caliber stuff) even if he does spend the rest of his career around .225. Avila might end up being Brandon Inge Revisited; unquestionably strong at his position but leaving you guessing whether he’s an underachieving average hitter or an overachieving total hack. I’m not even being negative here.

* For one shining inning we saw the Tigers offense at its best, striking quickly and devastatingly against a fading Buchholz. That’s the offense Mike Illitch paid for, and the one we pay to see. They padded a slim lead and put the game in the bag for Max. Unfortunately, that bag was placed on a counter slick with bullp-  well, bull-something – and the bottom got all soggy.

From the Numbers Speak Louder Than Words Dept.:

ALDS

alds batsalds pitch

 ALCS

alcs bats

alcs pitch

* A bunch o’ links to pass the time until game time (you’ve already read ‘em… read ‘em again to qualify for valuable cash prizes). I should say “until game day”; with a 4:00 EST game time, Tuesday, there won’t be time to pass for many of us. I’ll be watching the game after the game, safely sequestered from spoilers by geography and… well, circumstance:

Torii and the cop

Torii and the tumble

You don’t say – how perceptive

Score one for “bizarre last paragraph”

Wow, such a heartwarming human interest story, or .222 of one

The old “what can you say?” (no hat-tipping, thank goodness) in Beck’s “Anatomy of…”

Forgiveness and responsibility and other stuff

The Monster Mash

Stunning insights into JV – like no article you’ve ever read before

Justin Verlander had a great September and an outstanding, indispensable ALDS. How many times have the Tigers turned to him over the years to stop the skid, to right the ship, to win the game that had to be won? (Last time was only last Thursday. Sheesh. Leaning on the guy pretty hard.) This skid is only one game, but it was some steep game. Now they and we turn to Verlander again, to turn back the clock on two innings where the Red Sox became the Red Sox again instead of wind-up strikeout toys. (Yes, Boston hitters have been known to strike out some… but not at a rate of 2,592 a season.) Would it surprise you to see JV carry a no-hitter through 5 with the Tigers clinging to a 1-0 lead? It would not surprise me at all, which is not to say I wouldn’t be absolutely freaking out with the same tortured mix of delight and dread that have characterized most of the first two games of the ALCS.

My plea to the Tigers hitters and the Tigers bullpen: Don’t let this season of unparalleled starting pitching go down in flames. Don’t. There’s never been a better time for a number of stellar players to get what might be the only World Series Championship ring of their careers.

If the third game of a best-of-seven can ever be an “elimination game,” this Game 3 in Detroit is it. Mark my words. No? Then I’ll mark my own words: If the third game of a best-of-seven can ever be an “elimination game,” this Game 3 in Detroit is it.

Rise to the occasion, Tigers!

 

And now, the entirely fictitious Series-Turning Lineup, POPGs highlighted:

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

SP – Verlander
Setup Guy – Verlander
Closer – Verlander

53 Comments

  1. StorminNorman$

    October 15, 2013 at 10:13 am

    Excellent/informative post Loon! …as for a lineup shakeup, pure fantasy, but we can all dream.
    http://www.freep.com/article/2.....310150043/
    RE: Tori Hunter, the press & fans love him, and he’s been a phenomenal addition to this team; but i think its critical for his leadership to be more reflected in ‘his play’. Funny quotes and keeping his team “loose” are nice, but nothing “leads” better than results and performance, and let’s face it, DET’s #1 & #2 hitters have been dismal so far. Also Tori, DET doesn’t need you “to die” on the field (as he was quoted Sunday night), DET needs you to do just the opposite… with all due respect we’ve seen enough “death” in the batter’s box from #1 & #2 spots, its time to breath some life into the offense, and the leadoff and 2nd hitters are the best place to start.

    Game 3 and Game 5′s are always critical in series when the series is tied – after Sunday’s collapse, i agree with Loon, today’s game might be even more significant than usual.

  2. Coleman

    October 15, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    Red Sox supposedly whining about Peralta being allowed to play:
    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/.....1;mlb.html

    • StorminNorman$

      October 15, 2013 at 1:51 pm

      I could be wrong, but something tells me if it were Jackson coming off a 50-game ban, BOS wouldn’t be whining much about DET playing him

  3. StorminNorman$

    October 15, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    today’s lineup against Lackey RHP
    1. Austin Jackson, CF
    2. Torii Hunter, RF
    3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
    4. Prince Fielder, 1B
    5. Victor Martinez, DH
    6. Jhonny Peralta, SS
    7. Alex Avila, C
    8. Omar Infante, 2B
    9. Andy Dirks, LF

  4. StorminNorman$

    October 15, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    the weather (rain) is going to be a factor today – likely from mid-game on…hope the impending weather doesn’t mess with JV’s rhythm…

    4.12 SUSPENDED GAMES.
    (b) A suspended game shall be resumed and completed as follows:
    (1) Immediately preceding the next scheduled single game between the two clubs on the same grounds;

    • Coleman

      October 15, 2013 at 2:15 pm

      Uh oh. Verlander has perfected the postseason rain-ruined start.

  5. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    October 15, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    Thanks Loon for another good write up. A few comments and questions:

    A. Hats off to the Red Sox bullpen team that immediately came to Torii’s aid. A well done and classy move!
    B. Pedroia is 1 and 18 against Verlander.
    C. Batting 9th and 1st, Dirks and Jackson both need to hit. I feel confident AJax will breakout but with Dirks, I have only good hope!
    D. Looks like the rain front is starting to break apart and may allow the game to be eventually completed. Who do you send in if Verlander gets removed in the 5th because of a rain delay? Fister? Porcello?

  6. StorminNorman$

    October 15, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    Cabrera missed a few letter-high 91-92 fastballs that inning before flying out…oh, that’s right, he is human

  7. stephen

    October 15, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    Power outage in Detroit. Oh the jokes on twitter will fly.

    • JimEggersUSMC

      October 15, 2013 at 5:15 pm

      I’ve got nothin, was just hoping to catch an inning or two before I got to go get the grandsons (RHP & C)…. JV is dealin, lets get some damn runs!

  8. judpma

    October 15, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    keep that shut out going thru nine…we already found out thru 7 doesn’t work!!

  9. judpma

    October 15, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    hey Dirks..you telling us that you weren’t ready to hit that first pitch FB right in the middle of the plate, and took it. Then you whiff on Two curve balls in the dirt….no wonder you can’t hit

  10. judpma

    October 15, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    hey Hunter..no one throws you strikes because you constantly leave the strike zone to make out after out after out..no wonder you are under Mendoza

  11. StorminNorman$

    October 15, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    scary moment on the Ortiz flyout, but a good low-pitch 1-2-3 inning.

    DET offense can’t rely on a shutout, need to do their share…beginning this inning.

  12. KW

    October 15, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    I hope the bullpen is taking notes. Our starting pitching has been ridiculously good this postseason. Isn’t this the 4th game so far where one of our pitchers has taken a no hitter into the 5th inning?

  13. judpma

    October 15, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    hey Jackson , quit guessting, these are fastballs 91 mph every single pitcher does the same thing to you…no you aren’t getting change ups or curves

    theres my piece on the three automatic outd..I ‘m done whinning for now

  14. T Smith

    October 15, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Man, Prince Fielder is a horrible first baseman. Yes, it was a difficult pick, but he still should have made the play. He makes that pick and JV still has his no-hitter in tact.

    It maybe a good idea to let Victor play 1st at some point in this series. Between Sunday’s clown show at first and now this play, I don’t like what I see.

    • Coleman

      October 15, 2013 at 5:57 pm

      Also Avila contributed, fielding that pop fly scared. And Iglesias would have had him.

  15. judpma

    October 15, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    even though Mumbles doesn’t believe in what you just did AA, I do. Good situational moving of the runner!!

  16. stephen

    October 15, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    God bless Steroid Guy.

  17. stephen

    October 15, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    Steroid Guy stranded. Sads.

  18. judpma

    October 15, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    maybe Petalta should give some of those PEDS to everyone who has to swing a bat!!!

  19. judpma

    October 15, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    hey Hunter, no one throws you….oh nevermind!!

  20. T Smith

    October 15, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    Is Lackey that good?… or are the TIgers just flat?

    • Kevin in Dallas

      October 15, 2013 at 6:32 pm

      It’s the playoffs, he’s pitching well.

  21. Kevin in Dallas

    October 15, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Crucial inning right here. We really need to get 2 more from JV. I can’t see them letting him go more than 120.

    • Kevin in Dallas

      October 15, 2013 at 6:32 pm

      Oh hell.

  22. Coleman

    October 15, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    The Whiff Brothers at the top of the order are killing us, they need to find a way on base.

  23. judpma

    October 15, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    McClendon says after the dinger…”Gee I wish we could do that”!!!!

  24. judpma

    October 15, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    add Jacksons average to Hunters, and to Infantes and added together you don’t get .340

  25. judpma

    October 15, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    and Mumble counters the LHPitcher with pinch hitter….oh!….nevermind!

  26. judpma

    October 15, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    if they lose today and tomorrow , this is worse than the 0-16 Lions

  27. Coleman

    October 15, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    Oh well. It was hopeful for a second there. Heck of a time for Cabrera’s worst at bat of the year.

  28. Jason

    October 15, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    Well, the blame so far falls squarely on Cabrera and Fielder, who had awful approaches at bat. It’s all on Victor and Jhonny now.

  29. T Smith

    October 15, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    Suddenly Sunday’s debacle becomes more and more bitter.

  30. Coleman

    October 15, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    Oh NOW he brings in Coke to face Ortiz.

    • T Smith

      October 15, 2013 at 7:31 pm

      You beat me to it…

  31. T Smith

    October 15, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    Ha ha ha. Now Leyand lets Coke pitch to Ortiz. One game too late.

  32. Jason

    October 15, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    Who runs for Martinez? Wait, it’s Hernan Perez. Do you have him steal?

    • T Smith

      October 15, 2013 at 7:47 pm

      That would require competent management.

      BTW, is there a WAR stat for managers? If so, what would Leyland’s be?

  33. T Smith

    October 15, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    Awful lot of pressure on Doug Fister tomorrow.

  34. Jason

    October 15, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    Leyland didn’t do anything wrong today. We could’ve really used somebody like Quintin Berry in the 8th or 9th – a bona fide threat to steal a base.

    • TIGERS RULE

      October 15, 2013 at 8:01 pm

      You’re right ….. he didn’t do anything. No tactical management from the King of Morons.

    • T Smith

      October 15, 2013 at 8:50 pm

      He was absolutely horrendous on Sunday in the 8th inning. The Tigers had a four run lead with only four outs to get, in a game where the Tigers absolutely dominated. Every decision the manager made in the 8th inning was wrong. The odds of losing that game are right up with hitting a jackpot in Vegas or being struck by lightening. When you drop the ball that badly, in a playoff game that has tremendous importance–as in momentum changing importance for the entire series–you’re liable to take some undue heat and be second guessed on ensuing decisions, whether warranted or not.

      The bottom line is the Tigers starting pitching has put up historical performances during the first 3 games of this series, as in a once-in-a-century type combined performance. I would settle for being 2-1 going into the fourth game given all the records Tigers starting pitching has shattered, but there is little to no excuse for being 1-2 after the way the Tigers have pitched in the first three games. It is almost mind boggling to consider.

  35. judpma

    October 15, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    I don’t defend Leyland often, but what are you supposed to do when your hitters do nothing over and over and….

    • T Smith

      October 15, 2013 at 9:07 pm

      Prince Fielder is horrible. There is no drive in his countenance at all, no spark, no heart (except maybe when he’s going for a fan’s nachos off the first base line). For as bad as Austin Jackson and Tori Hunter have performed at the plate this series, at least they both have drive and heart. And Jackson and Hunter did start a rally in the eighth (unfortunately the money guys behind them couldn’t deliver).

      Miggy had an uncharacteristic very bad at bat at a critical time. Oops. It’s bound to happen, even to the best hitter on the planet.

      Infante showed no plate discipline at all with a runner on 3rd with less than two outs.

      Besides Miggy we only have two baseball players on this team right now that are playing at an acceptable level — Victor Martinez and Jhonny Peralta. It’s going to be with hard to string together enough hits to score runs with that formula.

      • T Smith

        October 15, 2013 at 9:10 pm

        This site really needs an “edit” option.

      • Coleman

        October 15, 2013 at 9:10 pm

        I like Jhonny “Prelate” (autocorrected, eh?). Bishop of the Bat, maybe?

        • Kevin in Dallas

          October 15, 2013 at 11:07 pm

          Tell me about it. Wish I could add one. I’ll put in a request to billfer.

          I fixed a few for you, T.

          • T Smith

            October 16, 2013 at 9:41 am

            Thanks Kevin. Much obliged.

            Frustration…. fat finger… intoxication

            So many ways to make a fool of yourself

  36. stephen

    October 15, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    Austin Jackson .203 in 124 playoff at-bats with 53 strikeouts. Good times.

    • Coleman

      October 16, 2013 at 10:32 am

      Did you see Leyland’s quote about all the Jackson strikeouts? “It is what it is.” In case you were wondering what it was.

  37. StorminNorman$

    October 15, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    Another outstanding pitching performance WASTED… i guess the ‘power outage’ remained in effect for everyone except Napoli

    with runners at 1st and 3rd and only one out in the 8th; all $44M in salary could manage was a couple of K’s…

    BOS pitching was pretty good, but i counted ‘at least’ a dozen fastballs (89-93 mph) right down the middle that DET hitters just missed or fouled off… dispelling the often cited cliche that “mistakes at this level usually leave the yard”