2014 ALDS: Game 3

The Tiger looks about ready to settle down for a long winter’s nap.

Still, there is a game today, and for the sellout crowd who shelled out for tickets, I hope the Tigers don’t go quietly into that nap. Hey, look, there are fans of 22 teams out there who only wish they could watch their teams play today. And the Tigers are actually in a better position, if you can imagine, than the two teams who most experts picked to meet in the World Series, the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Angels, who were both swept in two games at home. Only a late-inning Dodger home run has kept the 2014 ALDS round from having the look of a sweepapalooza.

It’s pointless to give a Game 2 re-crap now, since we’ve all been through it too many times–though that hasn’t stopped Captain Obvious and all his lieutenants in the national media from providing expert opinions which could be summarized as: the Tigers have bullpen problems. Who knew? Although to be fair, the numbers for the consecutive 8th-inning blowups are literally amazing.

Perhaps the most frustrating part of the game, while it was happening, was listening to the TBS announcers more or less call everything in advance. You’ve got to bring Sanchez back out, you can’t go back to what you did yesterday (here comes Chamberlain). The Orioles have 3 outfielders with strong arms, you have to be careful about trying to run on them (there goes Cabrera). Be careful here, you know Delmon Young is going to be going after the first pitch (here comes hanging slider up over the middle of the plate). The Tigers have a very weak bench (Carrera goes stumbling around center; the Tigers end the game with nobody better to send to the plate than Perez-Romine-Suarez).Perhaps must frustrating of all was the repeated line “the Tigers need to play this like it’s an elimination game.”  Brad Ausmus managed the game like it was a mid-season game against the White Sox, “saving” his pitchers when their pitch counts got high, using his “8th-inning guys” because, well, it was the 8th inning, etc.

I think a lot of us, perhaps unfairly, looked forward to the change to the Ausmus regime, thinking we’d get some different approaches, some creativity, some life outside the standard operating procedures. No such luck. I said “perhaps unfairly” because it’s only his first year on the job, at any level. Also–and I think this point is overlooked–he inherited half the coaching staff from the Leyland regime, pitching coach Jeff Jones and bench coach Gene Lamont. If Ausmus is back next season (I would be surprised if he isn’t), I would feel much better if he said OK this is MY staff now and replaced Lamont and Jones, and figured out what the Brad Ausmus way of managing really is.

I know some of us frustrated fans have said we might as well lose today and get it over with. I get the frustration, and there is nothing more wearying than waiting for the inevitable bullpen collapse: you can’t even enjoy being in the lead by 3 runs. Not me though, I’ll be rooting all the way. I think the best chance we have would be for David “Complete Game” Price to show up. And for the bats to not go into hiding like some overly-shy clan of wooden leprechauns.  But if we do have to lose this afternoon, the rascal in me would prefer it goes down like this: Price takes a lead into the 8th, Ausmus pulls him out,  Chamberlain comes in…. Might as well make some heads explode on our way out.

Today’s Donkey-Time Lineup:

  1. Kinsler, 2B
  2. Hunter, RF
  3. Cabrera, 1B
  4. V Martinez, DH
  5. JD Martinez, LF
  6. Avila, C
  7. Castellanos, 3B
  8. Romine, SS
  9. Kelly, CF

Price, P

Forgotten Man: Holaday


114 thoughts on “2014 ALDS: Game 3”

  1. Great photo and write-up. Bravo.

    I’m still way down on the game and team. Yes, it’s childish and irrational, but so too is rooting for grown men to run around four bags in tight pants.

        1. No doubt. Nice assist from the O’s fans, though. Comerica Park was a morgue by comparison. Because everyone knew what was coming.

  2. You know the most amazing thing about the Tigers…..they have a bullpen coach, and he actually gets paid real money for……….

    1. You were the only one to say it..and you were wrong. And yet, I wish I could buy you a beer for your effort.

  3. Eckersley: “he’s safe but it would’t surprise me if they call him out.” Well that sums it up pretty well.

  4. I too have mixed emotions about today’s game and our hopes and dreams for a few more games this season. Watching the games, and then reading what you all write are the most entertaining parts of the season for me. So, for the most selfish reason ( it’s fun!) lets keep on keeping on.

  5. It’s as if Cruz is finding every possible way to redeem his World Series victory losing blunder against won team in the post season — Detroit.

  6. How come these guys who keep calling Cruz the new Mr. October keep forgetting to mention he is a known steroid user and that he was doping during the 2011 playoffs?

    1. Nothing unusual here. They played a large portion of the regular season stunned. How many “slumps” did they have? This is just a continuation of that. Remember they were only a few games over .500 over the last 110 games or so. That’s middle of the road and what we are/have been witnessing is pretty standard fare for mediocre teams (periods of good play counterbalanced by periods of poor play). The Tigers have a good number of elite players to be sure, but they are not an elite TEAM. Too many weaknesses for a handful of potential Hall of Famers to cover.

  7. Weak effort by the big money guys. The fat lady has dropped her fork, pushed herself away from the table and is now waddling toward the PA microphone.

      1. When Avila and Kelly are the only Tigers to have hits in an elimination game, you have to scratch your head (until it bleeds).

  8. ALAL now warming up. But only cause it’s the 7th inning. Otherwise, Rookie Mistake (aka B. Ausmus) wouldn’t allow it.

  9. This is, quite literally, the season right here, friends. Another post by Major Obvious (he got a promotion).

  10. Ausmus you crazy fool, what are you doing?? Romine can’t be doubled up. Perez is DP/strikeout bait

    1. Hey ASSmus you haven;t PH once all season for someone who sucks like Avila how can you PH for Romine here??????? Romine isn’t half as bad as the other slugs on your bench!!!!! Perez,,,,,,,,,u kidding me!!!

    1. Actually, you should never intentionally walk the go-ahead run……unless your opposing manager is Brad Ausmus.

      1. I like the move because the Tigers had nothing left coming up. You don’t always have to go by the book

        1. I liked the move (as a Tiger fan) because Castellanos would have waved at 3 pitches outside the strike zone. Romine was all set up to be that “scrappy” hero. Ausmus ruined it.

        2. There is something to be said for playing the man (Ausmus) rather than the game. Clearly Ausmus was considerably outclassed in this series, but he actually made it pretty easy.

  11. Three consecutive embarrassing losses to close out the season. Time for heads to roll. Starting at the top.

  12. I’ve never seen it done before: A manager induced DP. Ausmus created the DP.

    FIRE AUSMUS!! He never should have been hired. If the Tigers have options to upgrade that position and they fail to do so, that speaks volumes.

    1. The organization won’t do it after only one season. He will probably be on probation next year; problem is, after losing Scherzer and V -Mart, and possibly Hunter, (and after J.D. inevitably comes down to earth next year), the Tigers will likely finish third in their division and be lucky if they win 81 games next year. They may even have a Boston Red Sox-esque follow up to wining the division this year and find themselves in the cellar next year, and then Ausmus will get fired. This year, i.e. 2014, was their window with this group of players, including 3 CYs, a Triple-Crown hall-of-Famer, a career year in an already impressive carreer from said hall-of-famer’s back up guy, a Cinderella-Story year from his backup guy’s backup guy, and, besides Hunter and Kinsler, a bunch of AAA players all around them. The Tigers have unloaded their farm system to create this 2014 powerhouse of Stars, so we’re going to have to wait until 2016 to see what this team will bring. Verlander and Cabrera will be two years older, and Price will be a free agent. Of course a lot can happen between now and then if Mike Ilitich is still committed to win.

      Let’s hope Ilitch has invested as much in life extension technologies as he has in this Tigers team, which just can seem to close the deal. I really, really want to see him get his trophy…

  13. well this team was painful to watch the last 4 months anyway. after a 27-12 start they end up 90-72; this is 3 games over .500 for the last 4 months. plus the blowpen lived up to it’s potential. in summary, I’m not surprised at this result a bit; I expected it. and no, I’m not a troll; I remember the ’68 Series. I’ve been a Tigers’ fan for 50+ years. but this team had no spark; it sleepwalked thru many games this year. is this Ausmus’ fault? I’m not sure. in a way, this quick exit is better this way; the least painful method of sleepwalking [again] right out of the playoffs. and GIVING AWAY Fister certainly didn’t help! was he banging Dombo’s wife on the side or something?

    1. No doubt the blow pen is a major factor in the failings of this team this year but if this team slept walked — and it did — and played crappy ball in the 2nd half, Rookie Mistake had a lot to do with it. But he and his 3rd base coach really did blow this post season I’ll say it again, Ausmus should never have been hired. Why hire a guy who has never run anything but the bases to control a team of this caliber and the expectation is the WS?? Why take that risk?? I did not understand the decision from the start and I understand it even less now. Maybe DD thought that w/ Lamont at his side not much could go wrong. If that did play into the decision, we now know what a poor decision it was.

    2. I never understood the Fister trade. In Dombrowski’s defense, he’s downright stole some players from other teams, but the Fister trade was a mistake from the outset.

  14. I didn’t watch..I couldn’t….but if the best thing you got in the ninth inning two games in a row is Hernan Perez…you need to find a new career job Assmus! You are so far over your head your in an ocean near the bottom!!

    1. Not the fault of Ausmus there was nothing on the bench, Is the fault of Ausmus that he put in DP-Bait Perez for impossible to double up Romine (hint: they walked strikeout-bait Castellanos to set up a DP).

      1. Er, the fake-bunt-swinging-whiff fooled nobody except Holaday. With the bottom of the order I would have have tried two (and maybe even three) bunt attempts from Holaday to get V-Mart to third. With three attempts the odds are pretty good Holaday delivers. Hate to do it, but you also need to pitch run for V-Mart. Showalter would have then walked Castellanos, putting runners on 1st and 3rd, one out, which sets up Romine to set down the safety squeeze.

        This is not brain surgery folks. Even if you don’t try the squeeze, Romine is much harder to double up.

  15. gotta be pulling for the Royals don;t we. they play the game right….they are way better than the Tigers…..fun to watch play……..go ROYALS

  16. You know what this team needed? A Marcus Thames, a guy who maybe is only good enough to platoon, but when he steps in the on-deck circle as a PH in the 9th some stomachs start to churn. Better than using defensive replacements as pinch-hitters, that barely passes in the NL.

      1. In 2013 it woulda/coulda/shoulda been Matt Tuiasosopo. It always involves the letters M and T. Even in MarTinez. Maybe STeven Moya is next. Or Tyler ColliMs.

    1. I think maybe they should give him a try at 3B, no joke. He’s already Castellanos’s equal there with no practice. Maybe he could hit again if wasn’t getting his brains scrambled behind the plate every other game. Also, although he wouldn’t be able to frame pitches, he could still call a game from 3B. Once he and the pitcher agreed, the guy catching would just have to be ready for anything, as he should be anyway. Good practice for McCann.

  17. Ausmus’s postgame was underwhelming—no one asked hard-hitting questions. Have we seen any comments from Dombrowski yet? I’m hoping someone asks if Ausmus is coming back, and Dombrowski gives some indication that it’s not a done deal.

    1. Dombrowski will yada yada yada as usual. It’s time for Illitch to pull the plug on DD. He’s the George B. McClellan of baseball GMs – good at a lot of things, except winning.

  18. It will all start with Mr. Ilitch and what he is willing to spend this off season. Max will get a big contract from someone and probably not us. There is some hope if Iglesias and Dirks can come back from injuries. VMart was MVP of this team by a long shot. I hope we spend some money to keep him along with some new bullpen faces.

  19. You guys up top got it right, Team was sleepwalking through a lot of the games….No excitement in them.. Alex Avilla looked like “Freddy the Freeloader” going to and from “work”, the plate,. Again these guys have no strikezone discipline at the plate to make the pitcher work his pitches. They tip their hand by swinging at crap and might as well take 3 wood or 9 iron to the plate.. Don’t they look at their films from previous atbats? I hate the check swing rule, its stupid, the plate ump should be just concerned if its in the zone or out. If the batter was thinking of swinging and moved his arms but decided not to follow through, the ump only needs to call it S or B. because if the batter didn’t break the wrist action means he decided not to swing.

    I thought the base runner, Kelly, had a right to the path to the bag, it was plane to see the fielder was holding/keeping Kelly from moving until the fielder picked up the ball. What if Kelly would’ve reached out swatted the ball away so the fielder couldn’t reach it?? That second baseman definitely interfered. The ump at second base always seems to me to be on the wrong side of the bag, I’ve seen plays where the ump was in the line of site of the catcher.

    1. Before that, the Tigers should have scored a run on Romine’s bunt. I thought he was safe, and ALL THREE broadcasters said he was safe. Then Eckersley said “he’s safe but it would’t surprise me if they call him out,” and I knew he was right. That’s the problem with the replay system that is supposed to fix bad calls–they always err on the side of upholding the call, whatever it is. The relevance to your comment is, that the failed replay challenge for that play meant that Ausmus had no recourse for the obvious interference play, which was one of the worst calls I’ve ever seen. The announcers were all laughing about it; sure, it was funny if you weren’t a Tiger fan. Actually, I don’t even know if interference is even a reviewable play–they were too busy laughing about Kelly being tackled to tell us if it would have been reviewable if Ausmus hadn’t been screwed on his first review.

      I know it’s bad form to complain about calls when you lose, but the review system has been a big disappointment to me this season.

      1. Also the strike zone the entire series was weird and horrible, for both teams. It feels like umpiring is getting worse instead of better.

    2. It was a horrible call. A blown call, basically. I’m not sure if that play was reviewable, but if it was, the Tigers had already used their challange already.

      1. Yeah, those calls were something. Especially the interference, to my mind. I could be wrong. Maybe that’s perfectly legal. It didn’t help that Kelly hit the deck about 10 feet from second base, though. Or that he got caught rather stupidly to begin with.

        The squeeze call for Romine was brilliant. I guess I can defer to the “clear and convincing evidence” caveat. Loved the play. I thought more of that was what we signed up for with Ausmus, but I don’t know if he was his own man this season. Shadow of Leyland? The invisible hand of higher-ups? Maybe just the usual baseball fear of doing anything differently, anything “radical.” Phooey.

        I didn’t end up with the feeling that the calls cost the Tigers the game, and I sense agreement. They just plain lost.

        1. I do think the calls cost them the game, but they lost the series all on their own, if that makes sense.

          1. I don’t know. They had their chances to negate the calls. And why even pitch to Cruz in the postseason, ever?

            Bit of irony in swapping Benoit and Veras for Chamberlain and Soria. All the more in that Chamberlain reiterated Benoit’s “not my first rodeo” thing. Last rodeo for the Tigers, I think. We already have a one-pitch wonder with a better slider (who I’d trade anyway).

  20. All those in favor of fire sale say “aye.” I could go as low as 7 guys from the season-ending roster returning. Verlander and Cabrera can pack their bags for LA and New York for all I care. Not interested in another wave of rent-a-stars to replace VMart, Hunter, and Scherzer or more “win now” baloney. I’d like to see some more players with more than one dimension to their game. I would seriously like the Tigers to flat out rebuild.

    1. Whoa, whoa, whoa.

      Scherzer is gone, VMart may or may not be. I don’t think it would be wise to blow up a team who has won 4 straight division titles.

      Ron Gardenhire is very interesting to me.

      1. I’m not kidding or just bitter over the ALDS. Totally want to tear it up. I’m not interested in a permanently out of shape icon who gives away more at bats in a week than VMart does in a season. If “Boog” Cabrera loses his current strength and conditioning coach (Prince Fielder), I’ll reconsider. Also not interested in an ace who loses it in his prime right after the albatross contract. Let him find/reinvent himself somewhere else. The NL would help. And Victor would have to hit .600 to compensate for his Bars Leaks effect on the base paths. I’d like to see some baseball and for Ausmus to stop it already with the Leyland impersonation. (You guys were right after all.)

        I think it would be great to blow up a team that gets to the postseason 4 years running only to eventually admit each time, “Oh, right, sorry, we don’t really belong here.” The endings haven’t been photo finishes, you know. Detroit isn’t just a player or two away from a World Series title. They’re a whole organization away.

        I suppose I might be slightly bitter.

  21. Fister zips the Giants….I vaguely remember him!..and Smyly with a great future ahead of him is definately smiling!…go Royals!.

    1. Rondon is Zumaya-in-waiting, only without the initial success. Dirks is toast. He’ll never work in this town again. Iglesias? Zumaya-as-SS, perhaps. A few more years of “if only.”

      1. Iggy and Dirksy have already been done. He’ll have to go lamer or weirder. I can help with the latter. The Ig Man. Dirkbag. Round-doan.

  22. I’m a little embarrassed I didn’t think about this during the season at all, but Victor has the best year of his career at 35 in a free agent year. Seems a bit fishy, eh? I think any team would be crazy to offer him more than a two-year deal considering his age and potentially artificially inflated numbers.

    Anyway, it’s going to be a really interesting offseason, and I think one that will finally show what kind of GM Dombrowski actually is. He can get the superstars when Ilitch hands him a blank check, but does he actually know how to build a championship team? The fans know, the columnists know, but does DD? We’ll know soon.

  23. One way to cope with disappointment is to adjust your expectations. It’s been suggested that the postseason is a crapshoot. Winning the division after a 162-game grind is the lion’s share of what it takes to get to the World Series. Maybe we should consider a division title enough of a crown for the Tigers.

    Clobbered by the Rangers, waylaid by the Giants, shoved aside by the Red Sox, humiliated by the Orioles. But they’ve made it that far four years running. Huh. I don’t know.

    The Tigers will do what they do in the offseason, and I’ll still be a fan in 2015. They could run the same team back out there and win it all this time, or do better, or do worse. Whoever they add or subtract, it’s all about catching lightning in a bottle, anyway. All I can hope for are changes that are interesting and possibly encouraging.

  24. Speaking sensibly about Cabrera and Verlander rather than frustratedly (is 7 seasons, 1 WS, 0 WS championships their fault? Not by the numbers)… regardless of all the obstacles to trading them and the difficulty in imagining the possible deals, not to mention any certain benefits, the Tigers wouldn’t fall apart and die without them. Detroit had ’em both 2008 through 2010, after all, and for all we know might be headed back that way again, with or without.

    1. It will remain a mystery until DD writes his tell-all, “Doug Myself a Hole: My Time as the Tigers’ General Manager.”

      But really, here are some ideas for why the trade happened: they thought Fister was a serious injury liability (possibly), it was going to be part of a big multi-team trade that fell through (probably not), Doug hated Detroit and wanted out (possibly), there was some behind-the-scenes drama involving Doug and drinking/drugs/players/wags (a stretch, but you never know), or maybe Doug told someone he doesn’t like Little Caesars.

      I’m just spitballing here obviously, but the trade makes so little sense that it seems like there just has to be something we’re not privy too. I have a really hard time believing The Wizard would make such a horrible trade otherwise.

    2. I think the real reason is that they tried to extend his contract, and he said absolutely not. He did the same thing to Washington. He wants to play on the west coast. Still, 2 years of Fister is probably worth more than a decade of Ray/Krol. We’ll see.

      1. That makes more sense of it. Also, I think the Tigers were as set on Smyly as he was as far as being a starter in 2014 goes. I don’t think another year of Smyly in the pen was ever on the table. Either Fister or Porcello had to go, and the offers made weren’t very compelling, and for whatever reason, DD did not foresee them (the offers) getting better by waiting. Maybe there were contractual reasons he couldn’t wait until nearly the beginning of the season to make a deal, I don’t know. That would seem to be a time when a number of teams would be in the market for a starter due to some emergency or other.

        Ray and Krol sure don’t seem like much of a deal now, but as Coleman says, we’ll see. I don’t think Fister was keenly missed in 2014, however bad the trade might turn out to be.

        A much worse “trade” was all the bullpen turnover with – astonishingly – negative results. Benoit/Veras/Downs for Nathan/Chamberlain/Krol. Irrespective of how the former three fared in 2014 (and we never know how things might have been otherwise), it is shocking how much worse the pen was in 2014 than 2013. Factor in the trade for Soria and scrounging for Johnson and it’s even more so. Talk about being sold a bill of goods.

        1. The Soria trade was a great one, though. No one had any reason to assume he’d come in and be anything other than the answer to our problems. The fact that he was a complete disaster after pitching to the tune of a 2.70 ERA, 1.06 FIP, 0.87 WHIP, and 145 ERA+ in 35 games with Texas this year, which had pretty much been his line for six years in the bigs, was shocking. Hopefully he’s not injured and can pick it back up again next year for us.

          Really the only questionable move from last year was letting Benoit walk, but I don’t think anyone could’ve predicted he’d have a career year in 2014 at age 36. Relievers are volatile from year to year, especially at that age.

          I guess what I’m saying is DD didn’t give the Tigers a good bullpen, but he did try to fix the problem in the middle of the year. A lot of hindsighters are saying “if only we’d gotten Andrew Miller instead.” Well, if Soria pitched like Soria, we wouldn’t have needed Miller in the first place.

          1. Yes, I thought getting Soria was great. Thought it was a real coup. Good, smart trade, no matter what.

            DD really did address the bullpen before and during 2014. It could have worked out differently. Unfortunately, it didn’t.

            I like to think letting Benoit walk was punishment for 2013 ALCS Game 2, but rationally, it had to have been about money. Nathan + Benoit alone would have equaled an entire bullpen’s payroll for most teams, I imagine. Just think if they’d *both* had seriously down seasons.

  25. The head scratcher to me was letting Benoit walk..He liked the Tigers..Don’t even give me that he would go somewhere only as a closer only BS..if the Tigers would have paid him what he deserved and earned he would have stayed!!

  26. With all the talk about how long it’s been since the Royals were in the playoffs, it’s worth remembering that they’ve won a World Series more recently (1985) than Detroit (1984) or Baltimore (1083).

    1. Yeah, long drought for the Orioles. That World Series was interrupted by one of the Crusades, I think, back when the Orioles were still in Jerusalem or Damascus or Constantinople and Earl Weaver was just starting out.

        1. Ah, right. It’s been so long.

          Bring back the Cleveland Spiders, I say. That was one heck of a name. If the Indians are ever pressured to change not only the logo but the name, I hope they go with Spiders. Arachnids and insects are seriously underrepresented in the world of sports, and I think it’s a shame.

          1. One of the best ideas I’ve heard for the Redskins is that they should keep the name but change their mascot to a potato. Is that not genius?

            Not sure how I feel about the Spiders though. In addition to them being my least favorite bug, I think it sounds a bit too modern (despite being a mascot a hundred years ago). It reminds me of something an arena football team would use for a name now. How about the Cleveland Fellers?

            1. I can go for Fellers if the Reds change their name to the Cincinnati Dudes. A special Wild West division will have to be created and also include the Texas Pilgrims and Houston Pardners.

              How about the Cleveland Fellators? That way, if they suck, who can complain?

              No, seriously. Fellers after Bob Feller? That would seem to open the door for the Yankees to become the New York Jeters, although that’s probably in the works anyway. I’m looking forward to all the one-year anniversary of retirement ceremonies throughout 2015.

              1. Potato for the Redskins is genius. If the Indians had a sense of humor, they could change their name to the Cleveland Engines in a sort of backhanded “take that” maneuver.

  27. I think Royals-Giants is probably the most interesting WS possibility for me, although I like Royals-Cardinals geographically. Although I like Buck Showalter, the Orioles are the one team I don’t want to see there. For some reason, probably subconscious, I associate them with someone who hurt someone I like.

    Royals over the Giants in seven. Calling it here and now. So get your bets in on the Cardinals.

  28. And considering the Orioles if Cruz isn’t still juicing then Lance Armstrong only did it for one year too……

  29. How in the world did Detroit beat up on Kansas City this season? They look like the best team in baseball right now.

    1. They are hot right now, that much is certain. Timing is a big thing…didn’t that St. Louis team in 2006 win 83 games in the regular season?

      DET has had odd luck of sweeping the ALCS both in 2006 and 2012, waiting a week to play in the WS, and facing a team that overcame a 3-1 deficit each time.

      Bad timing? I guess so.

      1. Looks like the Royals may end up with a wait this year. And also may be the first wild card team ever to sweep their way into the World Series.

    2. I think the Tigers sharpened KC this season, took ’em to school. Too bad the Tigers didn’t absorb a similar lesson from the Twins. And look how the Tiger beat on the Orioles earlier in the season. It’s funny, but this ALCS matchup consists of the Tigers’ first two opponents in 2014.

      Ah, well. Not who you play, but…

      I’m glad to see the Royals winning.

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