Thursday, October 12, 2006

Burning Questions: ALCS Game 2

ALCS Game 2
Burning Questions

Is Jim Leyland God? Alexis Freaking- Gomez?

There's something special going on with the Tigers right now. They're looking more and more like the team that went 76-36 thru August 7. And during that amazing run, Leyland pushed all the right buttons at all the right times. Funny thing is, when I saw Gomez in the lineup, I had a feeling he was going to do something good. It just goes to show you that Leyland has the trust of everyone, including bottom feeders like bloggers and magazine editors.

Care to amend your choice of Carlos Guillen as your Tiger MVP this season? Where would they be without Placido Polanco?

That's a great point. My reasoning was that I think Guillen, pound-for-pound, is the Tigers' best player. But the best player isn't always the most valuable, if that makes sense. We've already seen how Polanco's loss caused the entire Tigers offense to stall. If he were to be missed for any significant amount of time, heaven forbid, the Tigers would be in a world of hurt. Can I give co-MVPs out?

No, but we'll move on. Key moment for you in Game 2, please.

I'd say the Tigers fourth. The half inning after runs are scored are key for both teams, especially in the playoffs, and especially for the road team. The A's and their fans were feeling pretty good about themselves after Milton Bradley's first homerun made it 3-1 Oakland in the third. But for the Tigers to come right back with a four spot to claim a 5-3 lead was deflating for the A's.

Can't blame this loss on Bradley, though. But where are the rest of the A's hitters?

Well, this isn't a team blessed with as much offense as the Yankees, but they're certainly better than what they're showing right now. Nick Swisher and Frank Thomas, especially, are MIA and if that continues, bye-bye Oakland this weekend. As for why it's happening, it's the pitching, stupid. The Tigers hurlers are having great location right now, and even though the A's hit a few homers last night, none really hurt them, including Bradley's first, because it was so early in the game.

What's with Leyland's infatuation with Neifi Perez?

You can almost abide Perez's horrid bat if he was the second coming of Mark Belanger at shortstop, but he's not. He's an average fielder with limited range. And to hit him second in the lineup? Ay-yi-yi. Even the great ones do mysterious things, and this Perez thing with Leyland definitely qualifies. It'll be interesting to see if he sticks with Perez, now that it's all but 100% that Sean Casey will miss the rest of the series. God, I hope he doesn't.

Are the A's beaten already?

Heavens, no. But their feet are perilously close to the open grave. They got a little better hitting with RISP in Game 2, but they don't do it anywhere nearly as consistently as the Tigers have been doing it lately. The deeper this series gets, with the Tigers able to start Kenny Rogers and Jeremy Bonderman in Games 3 and 4, you get the feeling that the A's are in deep, deep trouble. It's highly unlikely they'll leave Detroit still alive in the series, but if they are, you never know what can happen. But never say a team is beaten until the last out is made in the clinching game. You know that.

Did Cory Lidle's tragic death have an effect on the A's?

Perhaps, but I think when something like that happens, it can affect both teams, whether they played with him or not. It's times like that when players feel like they're part of a big fraternity, so losing one is like losing a brother. I think it's something that, frankly, is mostly forgotten about once the first pitch is thrown.

Is Todd Jones' adventure in the ninth anything to worry about?

Naah. It happens sometimes, and it happens very infrequently with Jones, despite what his critics say. He got the out he needed to get, although Thomas could have changed the complexion of the entire series with a walkoff grand slam. The location on the final pitch was excellent: a high fastball, which was enticing to Thomas, but yet it was far enough away that it would have taken an incredible swing to jack it out of the park. It was a great pitch, yet nobody really mentioned it.

Speaking of that, what do you think about Fox's announcing team of Thom Brenneman, Lou Piniella, and Steve Lyons?

Piniella is horrible, and his voice sounds like he's pinching his nostrils together when he talks. Brenneman doesn't know how to pronounce the Tigers' players names properly (he actually called Jason Grilli "Jason Greeley"). Lyons is alright. Overall, I'm not that impressed. Give me Mario Impemba and Rod Allen anytime.


Blogger barry said...

And how about that Ernie Harwell...he's still got a few bullets left in the gun.

8:55 PM  

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