Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Burning Questions: ALDS Game 3

(note: During the playoffs, Monday Morning Manager will be answering Burning Questions. The morning after every Tigers playoff game, come back here for MMM's answers to the questions that many  of you have about the previous night's game. Today's BQ addresses Game 3 of the ALDS)

Where was the Tigers offense?
Some of it got lost in the gloves of Coco Crisp and Yoenis Cespedes. Both outfielders made terrific plays robbing Prince Fielder, which is what happens to you when you're 1-for-12, as Prince is in the series.

Crisp's thievery of a home run in the second inning seemed to set the tone. If you're an A's fan, it was appropriate that that play be made by Crisp, who was one of the goats in Game 2 for dropping Miguel Cabrera's fly ball in the seventh inning.

But aside from those two plays, the Tigers once again seemed vexed by a lefty with good off-speed stuff and a slider down and in to the righties and away from the left swingers. It was like Bruce Chen was pitching for Oakland.

So is it just a matter of turning the page and forgetting about it? Is it that easy?
It ought to be that easy. There's quite enough before you in the playoffs, with each game magnified in importance, that thinking about the last game simply can't be tolerated. Tonight is a new game. Game 3 is over and done with.

Was this a typical Oakland A's victory?
Pretty much. They won't pound you for 10 or 12 hits. They'll scratch out a few, knock one or two out of the ballpark, and pitch. That's how the A's won 94 games with a .238 team batting average. Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez pitched well, but Brett Anderson and the A's bullpen was better.

Frankly, the A's starters have pitched every bit as good, just about, as the Tigers through three games.

Speaking of Fielder, any worries about him?
Not really. MMM is sure that Fielder had a lot of 1-for-12 stretches during the season, as does every player. You just notice it more now. Besides, two of those 12 were robberies, and he's just as likely to bust out tonight with a couple big hits. As long as he doesn't seem frustrated, MMM isn't worried.

More pressure on the Tigers than on Oakland tonight?
More on the Tigers than there was yesterday, but not more than Oakland. The pressure is always greater on the team facing elimination. It has to be.

Having said that, the Tigers obviously would love to end this series tonight, with Max Scherzer on the mound. They would much rather have Justin Verlander for Game 1 of a seven-game series (ALCS), giving him maybe three starts, than in Game 5 of the ALDS. Even if the Tigers win a Game 5, JV wouldn't be available, likely, until Game 3 of the ALCS.

Any more thoughts on Al Alburquerque and "kissing-gate"?
The A's have nothing to complain about after Sean Doolittle's over-the-top scream after striking out the side in the eighth inning last night.

So who wins tonight?
MMM likes Scherzer against a strikeout-prone A's lineup. Tigers advance.

Can I quote you?
No need to. It's all over the Internet now, isn't it?

Come back here Thursday for BQ after Game 4!!

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Blogger Michael David said...

Well, Greg, last nights game was a disaster, too. I really didn't feel too bad about game 3, and with Scherzer on the hill I thought the Tigs would wrap it up last night. But, again, where was the offense???? I'm not letting Velverde off the hook, but if they had scored 5-6 runs, then there was a good chance of them advancing, then have JV fresh for the opener of the next series. Tonight will be interesting, but if Leyland continues to throw Benoit and Velverde out there, the same guys the A's have faced every game...then they'll continue to get teed off on. There must be better options in the bullpen at this point??

6:26 AM  
Blogger Greg Eno said...

I agree about the offense. That's why, while I'm glad JV is on the mound for Game 5, it won't matter if we let that team hang around. The A's had 3 hits after 7 innings yet were right in the game. They win by cobbling together 6-7 hits, several of which will be extra bases, and steal the game at the end. That's how they won 94 games with a team BA of .238.

9:18 AM  

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