Alright, three division series are in the books, and so far, I’m three for three as far as picking the correct team but none of my picks outside of the Tigers were really that out of line. Here are a few things I’ve been thinking about the past couple of days.
First, one final thing on the Tigers/Yankees. This was a really good Yankee team and the Tigers just rolled right through them. Had it not been for a rough outing by Nate Robertson, it could have been over earlier. And if you take away that three run shot by Johnny Damon in game two (the only three Yankees runs), you would have a scoreless streak 24 innings over three games. Still, I’m really surprised how easily the Tigers appeared to take care of a very formbidable Yankee team.
While I enjoyed the celebration after the game, people (including the team) have to keep in mind that this is just the first chapter. It always bothers me for some reason when a team has a premature celebration, almost like they’re happy just to be there. Had the Yankees won this series, would they be celebrating the series win? I’m thinking not. Then again, I didn’t see how this was handled in the other series that have wrapped so maybe it’s more common then I thought. Yes, I know it’s the Tigers first playoff series win since 1984, but they still face an uphill climb to win what really matters.
The Mets and the A’s finished both of their series up pretty handily. The first two games at the Metrodome were pretty close but once it got out to Oakland, the A’s rolled right through them in the clincher. The Mets held off a comeback in game one but then handled the Dodgers pretty easily in the final two games. If the Cards don’t win tonight, they’re in trouble because they have their best chance of winning with Carpenter on the mound and at home.
It looks like it’ll be Barry Zito against Nate Roberston is game one. I would have liked to see Leyland push Robertson back to game three with Justin Verlander and Kenny Rogers throwing the first two in Oakland. Kenny Rogers is 23-4 with a 3.39 and a 1.36 WHIP in 294 1/3 innings at the Oakland Colliseum. If he starts in game two, he’d get potentially two starts in Oakland if the series went to six games.
The Tigers have only faced four different American League teams in the playoffs. Since the inception of a playoff system, the Tigers have only made it in four seasons. They’ve beaten the Royals (1984) and Yankees (2006) and lost to the Athletics (1972) and Twins (1987). That best of five series against the A’s was a good one. You had a shutout on each side and the Tigers came back from a 2-0 deficit to tie it at two games a piece. Game five was a 2-1 pitchers dual in which that year’s Cy Young winner, Vida Blue, came into the game to throw four innings of shutout ball to close out the game in relief of Blue Moon Odom. This season was kind of the last hurrah of the 1968 team, as guys like Mickey Lolich, Al Kaline, Norm Cash and Bill Freehan were finishing out their careers.
All of the ALCS games played during the week are at 8 pm, so I’ll get to watch all of the games. This is a good thing.
RIP Buck O’Neil. He was definitley one of the ambassadors of the Negro Leagues.