Do postseason games really come down to anything else? We’re always going to be talking about games between two teams with talent and depth. There will usually be two starters (and a handful of relievers) with filthy stuff – one of them has to lose. One team is going to wind up with gaffes in the field – like Mark Teixeira in the ALDS. One team is going to wind up saving runs and winning games with brilliant glovework – and the Detroit Tigers benefited from some of that in the ALDS as well. Some team is going to get lucky breaks – due to strange bounces, bad calls, etc… And some guy on some team is just going to be impossible to get out.
When all of these breaks cut the same way – as they appeared to do tonight for the San Francisco Giants – what is really a game on a knife edge looks like a laughable mismatch. Want luck? There was no terrible call a la Omar Infante safe at second, but take a look at that ball Angel Pagan bounced off third base or Delmon Young‘s ridiculous, no-effort double play off home plate. Want glove? Take a look at those two diving catches in left field by Gregor Blanco – each of which saved at least a run. Want a hot hitter? How could anyone possibly be hotter than Pablo Pandoval? The worst thing a team can run into is a mediocre, streaky power hitter who is just locked in. Tigers fans remember from last years ALDS against Texas what happens when every ball you throw somebody (Nelson Cruz) goes over the fence [you lose]. That Panda hit a home run to straightaway center field against Al Alburquerque. NO ONE hits home runs off Al Alburquerque! No one hits home runs in AT&T park either. Except him, apparently.
So remember, Tigers fans, as you groan, grumble, have another beer and resume blaming everything on Jim Leyland [you know we all do] that those guys on the San Francisco Giants aren’t really better than the Tigers, or at least not as much better as they looked last night. There are breaks to be gotten, and tonight the Giants got them. The Tigers can flash some spectacular glovework too (possibly not Delmon Young, who made one of the worst throws to home that I have ever seen]. They can bounce balls off random things, just like anybody else. They have plenty of mediocre hitters that can launch balls over fences (and some good ones that can, too). They even might (might) watch some film and figure out how you get Pablo Sandoval out. They’ll be throwing another good starter out there tomorrow with the same talented lineup to try to salvage a split in those first two games in San Fran and there’s no reason to expect the results to be the same. That said: if Pablo Sandoval hits another three home runs, the Tigers will lose. That you can put money on.