Is it possible to hit a quiet .529? I don’t know if I mentioned Placido Polanco much in many of write ups for the ALCS, but he definitely hit the ball well. He was nine for seventeen with two runs and two RBIs and for his troubles, he won the ALCS Most Valuable Player award. Polanco has only gotten a hit in each of the eight Tigers playoffs games and in six of those he had at least two. He’s only struck out twice and he’s posting an impressive .514 OBP in the playoffs this year.
The Tigers have made only two errors this entire post season. Jason Grilli made in an error in game one of the ALDS and then Carlos Guillen made one in game one of the ALCS. That’s some solid defense and just one of the reasons this pitching staff has done so well.
The Detroit Tigers Weblog did a nice job of rounding up all of the Detroit blogs’ thoughts on the ALCS win. I thought about doing this myself, but he saved me the trouble. It’s some great reading so be sure to check it out.
Now the Tigers have a week off, so I’m going to be working on my next big thing (at least to me). I’m pretty excited about this project and it appeared almost too big at times and I went back and forth as to whether I’d even do it. Fortunately, I have some help so I’ll probably announce it some time this week. Think greatest pennant race of all time.
If you’re a college hockey fan, a friend of mine has been blogging the Northern Michigan Wildcats hockey exploits. He does a nice job of covering a niche that isn’t often covered and it’s some pretty good reading.
It’s hard to believe that at this time two weeks from now, the season will be over barring some sort of weather delay. This is my fourth season blogging the Tigers and by far the best but even in the bad years, baseball’s finale always leaves me a little down. So I’ll definitely be enjoying these last couple of weeks of the season.
On several occasions, I’ve stated the Magglio Ordonez will never be worth the money we paid him. Like a lot of things this season, I’m rethinking things. Ordonez did his best Kirk Gibson imitation and hit a solo homerun in the sixth inning to tie the game up at 3-3. Then he hit a huge three run walk off bomb in the ninth inning to win it.
Jeremy Bonderman got into trouble early and gave up two runs in the first and then he gave up a solo shot to Jay Payton in the fourth. It looked like it might be an early night for Bonderman but he got through those rough spots and pitched very well in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings (getting two outs) before Jamie Walker came in to relieve him.
The other hero of the game was Wil Ledezma. Jason Grilli got Frank Thomas to ground into a double play in the top of the eighth, but then he proceeded to walk the next three batters (on I think 12 straight balls, I have no way to go back and check. I need to invest in Tivo). Ledezma then came in to face Mark Scutaro and he got him to pop up and end the inning. He then put the A’s down in the ninth and only gave up a single. He was rewared by being credited with the win.
I was asked who I’d like to see the Tigers play in the World Series and I really don’t care. The New York Mets are the best team in the National League so it’d be nice to beat the best (and both New York teams no less). The Tigers and Cardinals do have some history. They played each other in the 1934 (loss) and 1968 (win) World Series. Regardless, the NLCS has a long way to go and the Tigers don’t play until next Saturday. Hopefully Joel Zumaya will be ready and everyone will get some well deserved rest so they can be ready to win it all.
What a shot. More to come.
What a start by Kenny Rogers. He did it in game three of the ALDS and he did it here in game three of the ALCS and now the Tigers are one win away from their first World Series appearance since 1984.
I’ll have a full writeup over at the Hardball Times some time tomorrow.
Alright, the Fox announcers made a big deal about this, but the Tigers became the ninth team in league championship history to win their first two games on the road. The other eight all went on to win their series, so things are definitely looking good for Detroit.
What a game by Alexis Gomez. I immediately questioned why Leyland would throw him in there, and then of course he started driving in runs. He hit a two run seeing eye single in the fourth and then a he hit a huge two run homerun in the sixth inning.
The other questionable hitter in the lineup was Neifi Perez. He was the only Tiger who didn’t reach base last night. It was a big fat nothing.
Justin Verlander was off his game yesterday but he still picked up the win. Wil Ledezma looked very good until he gave up a one run bomb to Milton Bradley and Fernando Rodney struck out the side in the eighth. I’m not sure why Leyland went to Rodney and not to Joel Zumaya. Maybe it had to do with the three run lead and he didn’t want to waste Zumaya and maybe it was that he wanted to get another player in there who hadn’t had much time in either of the series.
Todd Jones made things interesting in the ninth. He struck out the first two batters then loaded up the bases on three straight singles. He got Frank Thomas to fly out to Curtis Granderson though and that wrapped this one up with an 8-5 final.
The two teams have the day off today and tomorrow night it’ll be Rich Harden vs. Kenny Rogers in what’s expected to be some pretty cold conditions. It’d be nice wrap this one up early and watch the Cardinals and Mets battle it out to see who comes to Comerica Park for game one of the World Series. I have a feeling the A’s won’t be accomodating though.
Alright, the Tigers pulled this one out. I wrote it up and it’ll be at the Hardball Times tomorrow so check it out. I’m very tired, but I’m very happy.
It looks like Jim Leyland isn’t going to mess with what worked in the ALDS. It’ll be Nate Robertson and Justin Verlander throwing in Oakland and then Kenny Rogers and Jeremy Bonderman will throw games three and four. If the series goes to seven, the only pitcher who won’t throw twice will be Jeremy Bonderman.
Alright, the ALCS starts up tomorrow and it’s still kind of surreal that the TIGERS ARE STILL IN THE PLAYOFFS. They’re in the final four. Rather then rehash what I said about the Tigers in my ALDS preview, I’ll take at look at what the A’s have done this season. And in case you missed it, these two teams have a small amount of playoff history. I highlighted that in yesterday’s post.
One of the best places I like to go to analyze a team is the Hardball Times team stats page. The first thing that sticks out was that the A’s outperformed their projected (pythagorean) win total by eight games. That was the most in the MLB. Some of that might be attributable to their solid record in close games (they won 47 games by two runs or less, tops in the majors), which is a testament to their bullpen. In fact, Texas actually outperformed the A’s as far as projected wins. They outscored their opponents by 51 runs while the A’s outscored theirs by 44. The Tigers projected wins were tied with the Yankees at 96 and that was the best in the majors.
The A’s scored only 4.76 runs per game. That was well below the league average of 4.97 and it wasn’t too far ahead of the Kansas City Royals at 4.67. Their OBP was right around the league average (.340 vs. .342 in the AL, Beane still likes his walks) but the team’s .412 slugging percentage was just ahead of Royals, who were last in the American League. Even the worst team in baseball, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, had a higher slugging percentage (.420).
The A’s pitching was very good though. Their ERA was a solid 4.21, but their Fielding Independant ERA was only 4.44, not too far from the Tigers mark of 4.36. The team’s strikeout rate, walk rate and homerun rate were right at the league average and were nearly identical to the Tigers. And the A’s left on base percentage of 73% was just behind the league leading Tigers of 74%.
As far as fielding, the A’s are pretty average. Their +/- came in right at zero, where as the Tigers led the AL with a +60. So while the A’s arms are just as good as the Tigers based on FIP, the Tigers have the defense behind them to help out those pitchers.
So, you should some great pitching in this series. This should equate to some low scoring games and a lot of excitement, but these things never seem to work out exactly as planned, so we’ll see. I’ll stand by my earlier prediction and say Tigers in seven although I messed up the games Rogers will win. It’ll be games three and game seven.