Tigers Leftovers, Thoughts and Reflections
Posted on November 25, 2012
Making up for lost time with a stream-of-consciousness post …
It’s been almost a month since Miguel Cabrera took a Sergio Romo 0-2 fastball down the middle for the final out of the World Series. In some ways it feels that long ago and in others, still too recent.
So much seems to have happened since the middle of September when the Tigers were a game back of the White Sox and we weren’t certain (well, at least I wasn’t) postseason baseball was in our future.
But it was. A grueling ALDS against the A’s, an exhilarating sweep of the Yankees and then, good God, that World Series.
By the end of Game 2, it became increasingly clear that the Giants were a team of destiny … and the Tigers had gone into another frustrating offensive slumber. As we saw all too vividly, that’s a toxic brew.
Even though the Series was over in a heartbeat, and the Tigers looked overmatched, I was stunned with how it played out. I never for a moment thought they’d lose to the Giants – a mindset that was equal parts homer-optimism and at-least-it-ain’t-the-Cardinals relief. (There was also my anti-Giants bias lingering from the Barry Bonds era.)
And now that I’ve had time to think about it, Bruce Bochy‘s club was perfectly constructed to take down the Tigers. I tweeted that my biggest fear going into Game 1 was that Barry Zito would impersonate Bruce Chen and stymie a rusty Tigers lineup. He did both and, as fate would have it, that was all she wrote.
If I’d created a list of possible World Series scenarios and endings, a sweep by the Giants, an ice-cold Prince Fielder and a caught-looking Cabrera to end it all wouldn’t be on it. None of them.
There was one thing that did not surprise me in the Series: Justin Verlander‘s Game 1 implosion. Who didn’t see that coming?
Listening to the national media leading up to the opener, you’d have thought Verlander had an unblemished postseason (or at least World Series) record. Except, you know, he totally didn’t: 0-2, 5.30 ERA, 1.545 WHIP. And now he’s 0-3/7.20/1.75.
I don’t know about you, but the Game 1 performance is what I feared in ALDS Game 5 … and in the ALCS.
Chances are I wasn’t alone in almost dreading a Game 4 win and what it might mean. Would it prolong the agony? Absolutely. Because at that point it was clear the Tigers weren’t going to beat Zito, Madison Bumgarner, Rick Reuschel, Mike LaCoss or any other starter the Giants rolled out to the mound.
This postseason was one wild ride. One I didn’t expect to come to a screeching halt with Miguel Cabrera* watching one blow by.
*Speaking of the MVP: watch for a post on that whole debate soon.
Fare thee well, G-Money
When Gerald Laird arrived in Detroit ahead of the 2008 season, I was giddy. At last, a solid backup and successor-ish guy for Pudge Rodriguez. We’d watched Laird abuse Tigers pitching for long enough; time for him to do some damage in The D. Yeah, well, ahem.
I was equally giddy when Laird left Detroit after the 2010 season. He never produced at the level the Tigers had expected (or that fans had hoped) so, good riddance. Right?
When G-Money returned to Detroit for the 2012 campaign on a one-year deal my giddiness returned. He’s the perfect guy to backup Alex Avila and a great mentor for the new young arms coming up, I thought. And how big a lift was Laird this past season? Huge, I’d say.
He was exactly what the Tigers needed as Avila was assaulted game after game. And, Laird actually hit this year (.282) in his 63 games.
Good for G-Money landing a two-year deal with the Braves. Unlike in ’10, I’m sorry to see him go.
Finally, here are some moldy leftovers. I found this (at best) half-baked post from last October that never saw the light of day:
After watching the Rangers bludgeon the Tigers in a terrifically played series, I just don’t have it in me to watch Nelson Cruz or Mike Napoli again until 2012. That doesn’t, of course, mean I’m not pulling for the Rangers in the World Series. I’d root for any team – even the White Sox – against a Tony LaRussa team.
As it turned out, I didn’t watch any of that Rangers-Cardinals World Series.
No regrets, either.