Goliath Slain by Brandon Inge
By Chris Hannum
Well, not literally slain and not literally ‘Goliath’ but a game-tying home run off Tiger nemesis Alexi Ogando is worth a little hyperbole. Aside from that one mighty swing, Ogando has allowed 1 hit 2 walks and gotten 7 strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings of relief in the ALCS – with, of course, no runs allowed other than Inge’s bomb. In three starts against the Tigers this year Ogando allowed a grand total of 3 runs in 21 innings – and walked away as you all know with 3 wins under his belt.
Our Tigers may not win this series, they may not win this game – but thanks to Brandon Inge Alexi Ogando will not get win #4 against the Tigers in 2011. And for that, Brandon, I salute you. What’s more – I’m glad it was Brandon Inge, who’s Tiger to the core – and not some random ringer like Wilson Betemit whose core is full of Royal, White Sock, Yankee, Dodger and Brave. Maggs can’t play on this stage – even though we could really use him – and neither can glass Carlos. If Brad Penny has to come in in the 14th to end things, a big part of me will be wishing they’d just kept Bondo instead of paying $3 million to a mercenary who would contribute just as little.
With one swing of the bat, Mr. Inge may have earned the right to continue on as the regular Tigers third baseman in 2012. Well, that one swing and a bundle of really lousy ones by Wilson Betemit in October. Inge isn’t and never was a star, but to be frank there aren’t a lot of options at third in the free agent market or the upper levels of the Tigers’ system. So if it’s gotta be a below-average third baseman, give me a below-average third baseman who battles, never chokes and bleeds D’s. Because when he, of all people, comes through it’s always epic.