Friday, October 27, 2006

Burning Questions: World Series Game 4

World Series Game 4
Burning Questions

Did David Eckstein make a pact with Satan?

Sure seemed like it, didn't it? First, he annoyingly fould off a bunch of pitches to start the first inning before dribbling an infield hit, then the ghost of Curt Flood takes Curtis Granderson's feet out from under him to create a double, and then Craig Monroe barely misses a circus catch, for the game-winning double.

Eckstein looks 14 years old, but he was lethal last night. He had some kind of luck.

What is it with Tigers pitchers and fielding?

It's the strangest thing. The only one who can make plays, it seems, is Kenny Rogers. With everyone else, it's an adventure. As far as throwing to first base, pitchers tend to fall in love with lobbing the ball, instead of just throwing it, and the result is often high tosses. That's what happened to Fernando Rodney last night. As Fox's Tim McCarver correctly pointed out, Rodney had plenty of time. He should have gloved the ball, planted his feet, and fired it to first. It's funny how most pitchers completely change their throwing motion when it comes to tosses to first base.

Well, not HA HA funny.

The offense was a LITTLE better, wasn't it?

Well, yeah, but that and a dime will get you a cup of coffee.

The Tigers still aren't putting together many strings of hits, and despite getting two, two-out hits in the third inning, too many big guns are still misfiring, i.e. Magglio Ordonez, Placido Polanco, and now Craig Monroe has joined that list. Time is running out. The Tigers need not only a victory, but a BIG victory. Jeff Weaver is starting Game 5, and the Tigers let him off the hook numerous times in Game 2.

What did you think of Brandon Inge cutting the ball off in the seventh inning, enabling the go-ahead run to score, but also enabling the Tigers to end the inning by tagging out Albert Pujols?

I would have let that ball go through to the plate. I thought Monroe had a shot at nailing the runner, which was the go-ahead run, as you said. I think I'd have taken my chances at getting that out, even if it would have left a runner on third had the throw not been successful. You're trying to protect a lead, and an out at the plate there would have been a momentum-changer. It was worth the risk, but at that moment, everything happens so fast and the decision is split second. But it sure looked like Monroe had a shot at the runner at the plate.

Looks like you were right about Scott Rolen being the Cardinal you fear the most.

I'd much rather be wrong, believe me. Rolen can look so bad on one pitch, and so good on the next. That's the sign of a good, disciplined, confident hitter. Seems like he's always ripping a double somewhere.

So Pudge got off the schneide, and Casey keeps hitting. But it's not enough, right?

Right. It was good to see Pudge's hits, but this lineup is most effective when everyone contributes. The Tigers are not, and never have been this season, a team that can be carried by one or two individuals. Their offense is best when multiple hitters are getting into the act. And right now, not enough folks are swinging well.

Are you saying this Series is over?

Of course not.

It's never over until you win four, and the last two times the Cardinals held 3-1 leads in the World Series, they lost: 1985 and 1968. But that aside, when you're down 1-3, all you should do is focus on the next game, and the Tigers have been pretty good at that all year long. I know time is running out, but I firmly believe if they can get that one win where the offense cooks, they'll be on their way, with two games in Detroit.

The Cardinals have been getting all the breaks, and all you can do is hope that they used up all of their allotment.

What about the decision to NOT start Kenny Rogers in any games happening in St. Louis?

Probably good. Let's put it this way: it's hard to argue against it. It's not like the Tigers' rotation is chopped liver. If the choice was between Rogers and a fifth starter, the you go with Rogers, regardless of the city. But Jim Leyland feels he can get a winnable outing from Justin Verlander, and I agree. Then you have Rogers starting Game 6 at home.

Tell me why I should feel good about Game 5.

It's not Game 4?

Seriously, the Cards got every break in the book last night, and still barely won. The Tigers' offense seems to be awakening a little bit, and you know they'll come out fighting. They got lots of baserunners against Weaver in Game 2, but just couldn't finish him off early.

Besides, I truly don't think the Tigers' fate is to lose all three games in St. Louis after the postseason ride they've taken us on.

Feel better now?

A little.

Better than nothing.


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