Monday, October 29, 2012

Burning Questions: World Series Game 4

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 4 of the World Series.

Where did you go? We all missed you after Game 3.
MMM thanks you for your concern. A busy Sunday, which included watching the Lions nip the Seahawks, took MMM off the grid. Apologies.

So it's over, just like that/ Did you ever in your wildest dreams (or nightmares) expect a Giants sweep?
Absolutely not. Funny, but MMM was rooting for the Giants; he didn't want to see the Cardinals again, because (how's this for irony) the Cards seemed to be the team sprinkled with postseason pixie dust lo these past several years. MMM clearly had no idea what he was asking for.

Getting swept in the championship round of any sport is humiliating. Will this have deep reverberations around the franchise?
It shouldn't. As bad as this World Series was, MMM still believes the Tigers should dominate the Central Division for years to come. Their best players are all in their prime. Yes, there are holes but doesn't every team have them? Plus, the Tigers get Victor Martinez back next year. There should be the usual tweaking and massaging of the roster, but this isn't a time to panic and make crazy trades.

We'll discuss potential offseason moves in a second. But back to the Series. The Giants won the old Dodgers way---with pitching and defense. Is that the new blueprint, making a comeback?
You mean like how the Pistons 2004 championship was supposed to change the way NBA teams won titles? Look, the Giants were the superior team, no question. They caught the ball (EVERY ball, it seemed), threw the ball and turned double plays like Trammell and Whitaker. They had timely hits, though not that many of them---just enough to win. MMM thinks you hit your way to the postseason and then pitch your way to the World Series. It's been that way for a long time, and will continue to be that way. It might seem like the Giants are a pitch/defense/no hit team, but they really aren't. They just played their best baseball after falling behind 3-1 in the NLCS, while the Tigers bats went into a deep freeze.

Was Jim Leyland outmanaged by Bruce Bochy?
MMM thinks if you lose a World Series, you're out-everythinged. That's why you lost. But Bochy didn't really have to do too much in-game managing, frankly; that's how good the Giants pitching and glove work were. If Leyland had a guy hit three homers in one game on his way to nearly setting a postseason record for base hits, then maybe this Series would have been different. MMM wasn't displeased, really, with Leyland in the Series, with the exception of hitting Quintin Berry second instead of, say, Andy Dirks. But then again, nobody hit, so maybe it wouldn't have mattered. But MMM knows one thing: Gene Lamont was out-third base-coached by Tim Flannery!

Let's play word association. Prince Fielder. Go!
A lost soul at the plate. MMM was shocked at how stunningly bad Prince looked. Totally clue-free, and overpowered by average fastballs. It got worse as the Series went on. But this happens sometimes, even to great players. Still, this postseason will follow Fielder, as it should. If the Tigers make it back to October (and they should, given their talent) in future years, Fielder needs to atone for what happened in 2012. Mike Ilitch didn't invest $214 million for that performance.

Speaking of Ilitch, many people were shocked at how frail he looked while receiving the American League championship trophy. Now another year goes by without a WS trophy for Mr. I. Thoughts?
MMM was taken aback, as well, at Mr. I's physical appearance. The last time MMM saw Ilitch was at the Prince Fielder press conference back in January. The owner didn't look great, but not as bad as he looked a couple weeks ago. MMM has heard through the grapevine that there might be an illness involved, but no speculating here about whether that's true or not.

As for Ilitch getting his WS trophy, it doesn't look good the older he gets. But 83 years old isn't a death sentence nowadays, especially when you can afford the best health care available. Keep the faith!

Pablo Sandoval was the WS MVP. A no-brainer?
Definitely. In a sweep, that award should always go to a position player, or a closer. Sandoval was lights out, offensively and defensively. Just a great World Series. MMM has no choice but to give the guy his props.

As promised, let's quickly discuss the offseason. Who is gone, in your eyes?
Delmon "I hold the Tigers postseason record for home runs" Young is gone, for sure. There's nowhere for him to play, with V-Mart's return next year and reclamation of the DH slot. You don't dare play Young as an everyday left fielder. That said, Delmon probably earned himself a nice contract elsewhere, based on his postseason.

Anibal Sanchez ought to be re-signed, if the Tigers can fit him into their budget. But he's another who picked the best time to pitch his best. We'll see if he wants too much money for the Tigers liking. Jhonny Peralta might be gone; the Tigers may want to upgrade at SS. Jose Valverde is definitely gone. And based on what happens with Sanchez, i.e. if he stays, don't be surprised if the Tigers package Ricky Porcello in a trade, maybe for a left-handed, second tier starter. Brennan Boesch's future is uncertain (or it should be), as is Quintin Berry's.

Wow. I thought you said don't do anything rash.

I also said the usual tweaking and massaging will occur. Every team has attrition. But the core will stay in place, as it should. MMM thinks the Tigers should win three more division titles over the next five years.

OK, here's a toughie. Describe the entire 2012 season, regular and postseason, in one word.
That's easy: that one word is "constipated."

That is, strangely...accurate!
That's why MMM is MMM and you're...not.

Thanks for spending time with MMM this year! See you in 2013!

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Blogger Michael David said...

OK, Greg, it's all over and I've had a chance to calm down. No doubt 2012 looked a lot like 2006, when the Tigers had a long layoff after the ACLS, and never got things going against the red-hot NL team coming off game 7. It seems unfair that the best team out of the League Series seems to be punished, but what about the DH rule for the WS? It still seems backwards to me that you have one set of rules for the NL venue, and another for the AL. Is is time for a 'unified' set of rules for the WS? Does anyone really believe the Giants, Cards, and Giants were the best teams the last three years, or just the huge advantage they have against he AL? Not saying that it would have changed the Tigers cold bats this season...but still. The home field advantage is really the home 'rules' advantage. Just a thought...

11:49 PM  
Blogger Greg Eno said...

MLB used to alternate DH, year to year, in the WS. Remember that? One year there was a DH (in both parks), one year there wasn't. I suppose you have to respect the NL's rules, but in a series of games with that magnitude, maybe MLB should consider using the DH all the time, regardless of ballpark. The NL teams will squawk, because it would take away their advantage, but the advantage is SO great that it should be somewhat neutralized.

3:02 AM  

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