Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Burning Questions: ALCS Game 1

ALCS Game 1
Burning Questions

So which was it: Nate Robertson pitched well, because he got out of jams, OR he struggled because he put lots of runners on base?

Yes to both. But I lean toward the glass is half full theory here. If a guy pitches himself into trouble, but then gets himself out, my hat's off. Striking out the side in the fourth after the A's put runners on second and third with nobody out might have been the key moment of the game. Robertson is bulldog, and even though the umpire kind of squeezed the strike zone on him, he was able to get guys out when he needed to. So, he pitched well, overall. He didn't allow any runs, after all.

Good to see Brandon Inge get going, huh?

Like I've said, each series is different. Yes, sometimes a cold guy can stay cold, and a hot guy can stay hot, but mostly the stats from one series to the next are much different for most hitters. But you could see the relief on Inge's face as he crossed home plate after his homerun. The Tigers have been using that method to jump start their offense a lot in the postseason: a homerun to start the festivities. Now if we can only get Craig Monroe some hits.

How much will the Tigers miss Sean Casey, who is out with a calf injury for Game 2, at least?

Well, Carlos Guillen will move to first, and while he's no Casey with the glove, he's serviceable. The question will be who plays shortstop. The Tigers are carrying three extra infielders: Neiffi Perez, Ramon Santiago, and Omar Infante. I'd like to see Infante, but Leyland seems to like Perez. We'll see. But as far as Casey goes, his bat was heating up in the playoffs, and he bats lefthanded. The matter of who bats third isn't as important, because the Tigers' lineup from 3 thru 9 is pretty interchangeable. It'll be a loss, but nothing major, if it's just for one or two games.

The A's continue to hit poorly with RISP in the postseason. That can't continue, can it?

Well, if it does, they're toast. But I assume you mean that you think they'll snap out of it sooner or later. I agree, but to what degree? (Hey, that rhymes!) Look, the Tigers' rotation isn't going to get any easier for the A's as this series goes on. If they don't deliver at least a couple of times soon, this is going to be over quickly. They were able to survive the Twins because of some longball and one big game where the bats boomed. But with RISP, they look like the Tigers did in late August/early September when they struggled mightily.

How deflating is it for the A's to lose Game 1 with Barry Zito starting it?

You can't hang your head this time of year. There's a ballgame tonight; put it behind you and go to battle. The A's didn't win 93 games just because they have Barry Zito. Put it this way: if the A's win tonight, and can even take one of three in Detroit, they'll still be alive and coming home, albeit down 3-2.

What's the best matchup for the Tigers in this series?

The double play ball. The Tigers turn a ton of them, and the A's hit into two tons of them. Four GIDP's last night. You'll win a lot doing that on defense, and lose a lot doing that offensively. There's no secret here: the team that does best with RISP -- offensively and defensively -- wins most games. It's kind of like the new NHL: special teams determine a lot of games. And RISP situations in ballgames are like power plays in hockey.

Sticking with Tigers in five, I presume?

Did you see anything happen last night that should change my mind?


Post a Comment

<< Home