Friday, October 06, 2006

Burning Questions: ALDS Game 2

Burning Questions
ALDS Game 2

How big of a win was this, truthfully?

Can you say (or spell) gargantuan? Michael Rosenberg in today's Freep had it right: if the Tigers had lost and gone down 0-2, tonight's game wouldn't have felt like a playoff game. It would have had, in his words, the feel of a Fan Appreciation Day. Now the Tigers are guaranteed two home games in the playoffs, so it definitely "feels" like they're in the playoffs for real.

I thought you said the Tigers were overmatched and that this would be over in four games, at best?

Well, it can still be over in four, can't it?

The Tigers deserve a lot of credit, no doubt, but they are still the inferior team in this series. Last night's win was exactly like most of their 95 during the regular season: get about six innings from your starter, then turn things over to the bullpen, who quiets the opposition. Just like they draw it up on the blackboard, as they say. Now, whether the Tigers can do that twice more, or even once more, is very much up in the air.

So you're sticking with Yankees in four?

Sure, until the Tigers win a second game. Then Yankees in five. Sorry.

Did Curtis Granderson come of age yesterday when he slapped a triple in the seventh inning?

I think it's quite probably the biggest hit of his young career. It came on an 0-2 pitch off Mike Mussina, in a key situation. How many folks truly thought Grandy would put the ball in play, let alone swat a triple into the gap? That was a big time hit, and can only help him. I still don't think he's a leadoff hitter, but that's another can of worms.

How about "Zoom Zoom" Joel Zumaya?

It just goes to show you that even All- Stars and future Hall of Famers can be made to look silly in short spurts. Zumaya was absolutely dominant. He stared the fierce Yankees lineup in the face and brought the cheese and said, "Hit it, boys." They barely could. For those who wonder if the Tigers should ever make him a starter, shush. He's perfect where he is; I wouldn't even make him a closer. The outs Zumaya gets are often far more pressure-packed and important than the ones Todd Jones gets.

Where's Pudge Rodriguez? Is it time to put his face on a milk carton?

Naah. It's only two games and eight hitless at-bats. Although, if it was the "other" Rodriguez on the Yankees, he'd be hanged in effigy right about now. Pudge will be fine, and even though I still think the Yankees will win the series, I expect the Tigers catcher to get a big hit or two before this is done. He's too good a player not to.

OK, so what about tonight's Game 3 pitching matchup?

Classic. Two over-40 lefties, but with two completely different styles. Randy Johnson and Kenny Rogers could make this a real treat. It's like a slugger going up against a boxer. Should be fun.

Are you going to the game tonight?

Yep, and on Motor City Sports Magazine's dime. But I'll work, too. I'll have some quotes for you tomorrow from the lockerroom.


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