A few things to cloud your mind, as we Tigers fans sit and wait patiently for Game 3 of the ALDS…
The Tigers did their job in games 1 and 2; quite simply, that job was to win their home games. And they did. Pretty or not, it’s done, and the Tigers take their 2 games to zero lead into Oakland where the next 3 games are scheduled. Because splitting or losing either of those games might have been a minor disaster, depending on your level of optimism.
The Tigers came into the postseason as the only team to qualify for the playoffs while sporting a losing road record. They went 38-43 during the regular season, and with the mindset that winning on the road may just be more important that winning at home in the playoffs, games 1 and 2 were huge. Surely, the Tigers can win 1 out of the next 3 possible games in Oakland, right?
The team did split 4 games in Oakland back in May. Game 4 starter (if necessary) Max Scherzer was the winner in the first game of that series. He’ll be needed if Anibal Sanchez can’t do the job in Game 3. Sanchez’s last outing vs Oakland: 6 runs allowed, on 6 hits, 2 walks (but 8 strikeouts?) in 5 2/3 innings.
Much is being made of Al Alburquerque‘s kiss of the baseball after handling a Yoenis Cespedes come-backer in yesterday’s game. Al Al, perhaps in the heat of the moment, reaching a perhaps immature moment in a young baseball player’s life, decided to do something he probably shouldn’t have.
Sure, the A’s players weren’t happy with the act. To be sure, I wasn’t that okay with it either.
Mainly because something could have gone wrong there on what is normally a rather routine play (routine meaning, you were able to snare that ball, the rest should be easy). What if he trips? What if he lobs the ball off target? I know, none of this happened, but a lot of people believe in karma (I’m not one of those people), and therefore those who were bent out of shape about it are probably never going to forget it.
In short on this particular topic: if you don’t want to see players do their screwball antics, then you should defeat them. It’s hard to kiss a baseball if he can’t glove it. Just like it would be hard for Jose Valverde to do his ridiculous dance after a too-close-for-comfort type of save. And I’m not here to pile on the A’s for still stewing over this play. If they want to let it bother them into game 3, then that’s fine with me. Except they’re in elimination-mode now, and they could probably resign themselves to moving right along…
As a big fan of defense, I was pleased with Avisail Garcia‘s throw that nailed Coco Crisp at home plate yesterday, in a play that turned out to be a giant run-saving throw. It was strong, and it was accurate.
And I didn’t mask my desire to see this kid next season on the Tigers roster when I said as much on Twitter yesterday.
You see, pitching and defense tend to win championships. Now, with the raw talent that is Garcia, I’m not suggesting that he’s the savior of this team’s defensive woes. But he won’t hurt if the team needs to play him out there more often. And even if he isn’t hitting a ton (zero hits so far this postseason, only singles for hits in his very brief career so far), that arm has already shown that it is more useful than any of the arms we’ve seen in right field this season (Boesch, Dirks, Berry). And frankly, with as bad as this team has been (and still is) defensively, I’d rather see him out there patrolling right field. I know he won’t start vs right-handed pitching in this series, but I’m happy if he’s being used by Jim Leyland at all in this case.
Oh, and physical similarities aside, I’m going to refrain from calling him “little Miggy” until he can start hitting like “regular Miggy.” Just saying…
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