At long last, the Detroit Tigers finally have their opponent, and it’s the San Francisco Giants. Thanks to last night’s 9-0 curb-stomping of the St. Louis Cardinals, we’ve got our match up. Now to think out loud before the series starts…
Fielder and Cabrera (Photo: Tim Fuller-US PRESSWIRE)
Miggy and Prince
The Tigers have managed their way to a 7-2 postseason record w/o the benefit of having Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder doing what they do: mash baseballs, drive in clutch runs; basically, doing what they did this season to hit over .300, 30+ home runs and over 100 runs batted in. Cabrera is batting a rather modest .278 for the postseason thus far (10 for 36), but has only 4 extra-base hits to show for that. As it is, he didn’t have a home run in the playoffs until he uncorked one off of C.C. Sabathia in game 4 of the ALCS. Prince, however, is batting only .195 for the postseason (8 for 41), and of those 8 hits he has 1 extra-base hit to show for it, and that was a home run vs Oakland in the ALDS. Naturally, things may not fare better for him at least for the first game of the World Series, where he’s up against lefty Barry Zito.
Both of these guys need to come up larger than usual in the World Series. The Tigers are a power team, and with the exception of Delmon Young, there hasn’t been any pop out of that 3-4-5 combo the team runs out there for every game. Without either one of these guys contributing on offense on a more regular basis, it might be a long series for the ball club.
So Phil Coke, unable to get most batters out during the season (especially right-handed batters), has assumed the closers role for the Tigers now. Well, I can’t confirm that 100%… or even 1%.
But he was the man to go to since Jose Valverde couldn’t keep anyone in the yard in game 1 of the ALCS, and as such he hasn’t made any subsequent appearances yet. Joaquin Benoit hasn’t fared much better, as he led the relief world in home runs allowed.
So who’s the go-to guy in the pen for the Series? Coke? Al Alburquerque? Valverde again? Whoever Jim Leyland goes with, whether it’s Coke, or by committee, there’s not a whole lot of time to dink around with the roster. Or to see if one guy works vs another. Looks to me like it’ll be like playing the lottery. And frankly he hit it by using Phil Coke, so perhaps he shouldn’t jerk with fate here. Stay tuned.
6 and what??
6-0, the Giants record while facing elimination this postseason. Naturally, the “0” is very necessary since they wouldn’t be here if they had “1”, but to be up against it that many times in a short stretch of one postseason is rather remarkable. They were down 2-0 to the Reds in the NLDS – losing both games at home – and went on the road and ran off 3 straight wins. Down 3-1 to the Cardinals in the NLCS, they managed to claw 3 more wins out, with the benefit of the rather loud and excited home crowd behind them for the last 2.
To me, that’s quite a bit of adversity. 6 wins in elimination games seems unfathomable. So should Tigers fans get worried should the Tigers somehow get 3 wins before the Giants do?
This is one of those “intangibles”. The Tigers have the opportunity to win the World Series at home, provided they win at least 1 of the first 2 games of the series. Then you have the home crowd to be loud and boisterous to help you through those potential winning moments, right?
Remains to be seen. While anything is possible, I won’t get ahead of myself there. In the last series I made a “heart” and “brain” prediction, with my heart picking the Tigers and my brain picking the Yankees. I’m not going to do that this time, but in the end here’s hoping the fans can party in the streets when it’s over, high-fiving perfect strangers, and this blogger can look foolish by dancing like an idiot in his living room.
C’mon, everyone wants to see that, right?
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