Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Burning Questions: World Series Game 3

World Series Game 3
Burning Questions

Curtis Granderson, Placido Polanco, and Pudge Rodriguez are a combined 0-for-34 in the Series. Can I panic now?

Yes and no. The glass is half-full people will tell you that those guys are overdue. The naysayers -- read: panickers -- will say that the Tigers are sunk because none of those three seem to show any signs of breaking out of their slumps.

My feeling? I tend to think their bats will warm up, beginning tonight. But it's not just those three. Not much offense is coming from the others, either.

Still, you could have made a mint in Las Vegas if you would have said that trio would start the World Series 0-for-34.

Why did the Tigers not make Cris Carpenter work more last night?

The six-day layoff between the ALCS and the World Series is having more of an effect than I thought on the Tigers and their hitting approach. They were in a great rhythm in the first two rounds. Now, everything has ground to a halt. Part of that is due to not trying to work the count a little more and maybe draw a walk. It's amazing how many times walks start successful rallies.

That said, Carpenter pitched brilliantly. The Tigers just made it a little easier for him than they needed to.

The defense has gone a little south. Agreed?

The Tigers are throwing the ball around a little bit carelessly, that's for sure. Pitcher Joel Zumaya was the latest transgressor.

The thing about defense in baseball is that it just takes one miscue to open some floodgates. It matters not that you may have played flawlessly for many innings in a row. It's all about timing. Unfortunately, the Tigers are making defensive mistakes that are leading directly to runs being scored. It's like fumbling and having it always returned for a touchdown.

How come the Tigers never score when Nate Robertson pitches?

That's not just in your mind; it's true. For whatever reason, Nate doesn't get the run support. But next year, maybe he'll get tons of it.

Tonight's starter, Jeremy Bonderman, has been a frequent recipient of run support. Let's hope that trend continues.

But to answer your question, it's just one of those things. A bad thing. but one of those things nonetheless.

Will Jim Leyland shake the lineup up for Game 4?

Well, what would you have him do?

He can't pull too much out of his hat, unless you want to give Marcus Thames or Alexis Gomez a shot, but where? There's no DH in St. Louis. He's just gonna have to run the same guys out there, for the most part. Maybe he'll change the order. Sometimes that works.

The Tigers look tight. Agree?

Well, when you don't score, you always look bad. Call it tight, call it pressing. Whatever words you choose, they don't seem like they're having all that much fun right now. The deeper you get into a series and don't score much, it's only human nature for guys to want to do too much. Everyone wants to be "the guy" who breaks everyone out.

So, yes, I would agree they look tight, but mainly because everything is so hard for them right now.

So, can they still pull this off?

Of course.

But needless to say, tonight's game is huge. It's funny about playoff series. Every loss is magnified, and every win is an elixir. If the Tigers win tonight, and score a few runs in the process, things will look so much brighter in Tigertown. The Series will be tied, with rookie Albert "I Won't Be That Good Again" Reyes starting Game 5, versus Justin Verlander. Suddenly, the outlook will be much brighter.

We won't talk about losing Game 4.

Who's your Tiger tonight?

I have a good feeling about Pudge. He's too good to be hitless in his last 20 at bats. Look for him to get a couple hits and drive in a few. If he doesn't, you didn't hear it from me.


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