If you would have told me the Detroit Tigers would be 0-3 in the World Series this fall I would not believe you. Are the Giants a good team? Yes. Every major league baseball team is good. Are they good enough to sweep the Tigers, no. I disagree. The Tigers have underachieved this whole season, and even with doing so here they are in the World Series. Winning four straight to take the World Series Championship has never been done, but it’s certainly not impossible.
I would love to see the Tigers scratch and claw themselves into making this a series. I want Max Scherzer to have electric stuff today, and battle his heart out to keep this team in the game. And what I want even more than to see Scherzer pitch the game of his life, is Prince Fielder to hit a bomb in his first AB of the game and get out if this horrible postseason slump he’s in.
Our offense has been quite a conundrum this season, and I can’t really tell you why. These boys can hit, and they sure know we know that, but they are not putting it together with any consistency. This isn’t the first year they’ve had this problem either. Remember in 2010? Grr. And even in 2009. Great hitters and ugly numbers with RISP for certain. Please, get a run on the board boys. This pitching staff has been working its butt off for the last two months, so we could get to where we are, and here you boys are swinging at pitches out of the zone and making yourself look like fools. Barry Zito is no Nolan Ryan, and you’re making him look like a stud. Same for the rest of the Giants pitching staff. Yes, their arms are more than serviceable but by no means should we have been held scoreless at all in this postseason.
Now lets play like a team. My dad always told me you build a championship team on pitching and defense, yet we’ve had both this season and I’m seeing the championship being taken away from my city!
The 2012 World Series begins in San Francisco tomorrow night where the Detroit Tigers finally get back onto the field (that is a real field, not one filled with instructional league players). Tigers manager Jim Leyland knows his players need to stay sharp, and to avoid a repeat of 2006 Leyland decided to have his team scrimmage on their break before the championship series.
A lot of critics think the scrimmage idea won’t have an impact on the way the Tigers play on Wednesday, but I think it can’t hurt. I don’t mind seeing the guys taking live batting practice and taking ground balls, over sitting on their butts and sleeping in late like it’s the off season.
Justin Verlander takes the mound tomorrow night facing Barry Zito’s Giants in Game 1. Zito, who wasn’t originally placed to start in the NLCS, but got a start in Game 5 because Madison Bumgardner has struggled mightily this post season. Zito’s response to his spot start involved 7 2/3 innings pitched with no ERs.
Do I think Zito is unhittable? Not at all. He had a great Game 5, but I think the Tigers have the ability to see him once through the line up and then start getting some hits on him.
Lets get this series started!
It’s time to start talking Tigers with the Internet world once again (instead of just with my baseball friends and random customers at the Olive Garden). Postseason is here, and there’s nothing better than seeing the Detroit Tigers representing the American League. Can’t say I’m surprised.
It hasn’t been the postseason that’s been difficult for the Tigers. Actually, it’s been pretty easy. But, instead it was the 162 games they had to play to get here. It wasn’t as easy of a season as everyone anticipated for the Tigers. They certainly had this moments of disappointment and I know I scratched my head numerous times when I saw their standings in the division. However, they got hot when they needed to and played solid ball down the stretch. All has been forgiven by fans and the baseball world because here the boys are headed to the Fall Classic.
Now, the ALDS went to the 5th game of the series, but I can’t really say I was ever afraid that the Oakland Athletics were actually going to come back and beat the Tigers. Maybe I wasn’t worried because someone by the name of Justin Verlander was toeing the rubber in that fateful game 5.
The ALCS was an even easier series. We beat up on a completely depleted and disheveled New York Yankees team, which ended with a four-game sweep. Yes, I did just say depleted and disheveled in the same sentence where YANKEES is the noun. That was pretty priceless to witness.
Now, onto the World Series. First appearance since that sad run in 2006. It’s about time the Tigers get back to the WS and it’s about time they have a legitimate chance of winning rings for their faithful owner Mike Illitch. The man is in his 80’s, christ he needs a championship, like yesterday!
The Tigers found out tonight that they’ll be facing the San Francisco Giants, after the Giants took out the Tigers’ ’06 opponents the St. Louis Cardinals by an impressive Game 7 victory tonight. The Giants handed the Cardinals a nice 9-0 butt whooping.
Game 1 of the World Series is Wednesday night in San Fran and JV will be on the mound. Tigers has quite a lengthly rest before this series, so we’ll see if there’s any rust to shake off. bonus for us though is that Giants lack of rest means they don’t get to set up their starting rotation as nicely as the Tigers get to set up theirs. Arguably their best pitcher this season will get the start in Game 4 (most likely) and will only be seen once, unless the Giants decide to start Matt Cain on three days rest for a decisive Game 7 match up.
After Verlander the rotation is as follows: Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez, Max Scherzer. I see this rotation as the backbone of this championship team. Bring it on Giants. We’ll see you Wednesday.
Today was the first real spring training game for the 2012 Detroit Tigers (they played Florida Southern University for their annual first game of spring, yesterday). The Tigers went up against the Atlanta Braves and ended victorious by a score of 2-0. Although neither of the Tigers’ runs were from star players (a home run by Jerad Head to start things off, then a sac fly by Argenis Diaz scored the second run) there were some positives that came out of this game.
A combined eight Tigers pitchers worked together to throw a one-hitter. Prince Fielder went 2-2 with a walk in 3ABs, and Brandon Inge started at second base and made two good defensive plays.
Side notes from Spring Training
Reacquainting himself with third base, Miguel Cabrera made a solid defensive play during the game against FSU on Friday. Teammate Prince Fielder said that he was excited to see Cabby make a tough play look easy, explaining that if he does this people will take all of his hard work and dismiss it, even though his performance is a direct reflection of his eagerness to develop and improve at 3B.
It was alleged that during batting practice this week Fielder hit a home run that was measured at 611 feet. People around Major League Baseball know how strong Fielder is, and they know his record of hitting balls far, but speculations of a 611 foot HR has left people debating the sheer posibility of this happening. In any case, Fielder is a beast no matter how far he hits a ball.
Spring Training Update
Lakeland, Florida has been buzzing with Detroit Tigers fans since mid-February. Pitchers and catchers have been down in the sunshine throwing for a couple of weeks, while position players reported about a week ago. It’s no surprise that excitement trickles through Tigers camp, both on the side of the fans and the players and staff. Prince Fielder, the Tigers newest member, was welcomed by a large crowd of media members as well as Tigers diehards, which was no surprise to anyone. Hopes and expectations are always high for teams (they say spring is the one time of year where every team thinks they’ll win it all). Why not have high hopes? What are you playing for if you’re not hoping to win it all?
The Injury Bug has Struck Already
Luckily for the Tigers (fingers crossed) we haven’t been like some of our division foes as far as pre-season or off-season injuries go. With the acception of Victor Martienz, the Tigers are starting off campus is good shape, health and spirits. Some baseball commenters and writers believe that the Cleveland Indians are a team that will be competing with the Tigers strongly for the American League Central crown. Unfortunately, for them (fortunate for us) the decision to sign their beloved, but oft-injured center fielder, Grady Sizemore, to one more contract has already been discouraging. He’s injured again, this time with a lower back issue, and is sidelined for Opening Day, with no specific time table to get back. Also, the Indian’s All-Star closer, Chris Perez, is out for the next couple of weeks with a strained oblique. These are two key pieces the Indians will be without on Opening Day. Of course, the Indians cannot forget that starter Fausto Carmona (or Roberto (Heredia) Hernandez, which ever name you use to refer to him) is on the restricted list to start the season. The team is not really sure what is going to happen to Carmona, or when he’ll be elegible to play again, all they no is he’s not 28 like they thought he was!
It’s the new year and with 2011 in the rearview mirror so is the Detroit Tigers admirable season. So many positives came out of ’11 for Detroit, including: a Silver Slugger, the Delivery Man on the Year, American League Batting Champion, Cy Young Award winner, and Most Valuable Player. Now, that’s a lot for one team to accomplish in a single season and the Tigers did it. Thanks to Miguel Cabrera having an “off” year (to some), and Justin Verlander having, hands-down, the best year of his career thus far, as well as Alex Avila having a break out season and Jose Valverde being “perfect” throughout his ’11 campaign the Tigers clinched the American League Central. They then went on to beat out the New York Yankees in six games to make it to the American League Championship series, where they lost to the reigning American League Champion Texas Rangers in an injury-ridden, tough fought, six game series where two of the six games ended in extra innings.
This was the first time the Tigers went into the playoffs as the champs of the AL Central since 1987 (before I was born!), and it was much needed. A lot of professionals in the baseball world tried to play off the toughness of the Central division and by doing so took some shine away from Detroit’s title. Tigers’ manager Jim Leyland wouldn’t stand for that, confronting media members who blamed the Tigers lack of competition the reason for their 95 wins. This, of course, was coming out of the mouths of the same media members who expected the Tigers to finish third in the division behind the likes of the Minnesota Twins and the Chicago White Sox.
Injuries can field mos of the blame for Minnesota’s poor year, but a giant question mark can still sits in place of where the answer for the White Sox poor season would stand. Injuries and underachieving, both of which the Tigers have had their fair share of in the past couple of seasons, was a minute issue in ’11. Overall, the best team won, and even if the Twins and Sox had solid seasons, it seems as though the Tigers would have been in it, if not on the top, by seasons end anyway.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE TIGERS?
One thing is on my mind to begin 2012 and that includes one man’s name, Yoenis Cespedes. A Cuban born outfielder, and five-tool player, that many teams in the MLB are interested in. The Tigers did not make any serious acquisitions this off season, and I myself am wondering if it’s because they are holding out in hopes of signing Cespedes. All in all, without Cespedes the Tigers are still a very formidable team. However, with Cespedes is the Tigers have the potential to be even better. That is, of course, if his skill set can transfer into the MLB. Cespedes has spent his entire baseball career playing in South America, which is not the same as the Major Leagues. But, Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski and other front office staff believe that Cespedes’ skill are solid enough to make him virtually big-league ready. Now that it’s officially 2012, and Cespedes have all but sured up his citizenship in the Dominican Republic he and his agent will soon be listening to offers from Major League clubs.
Reports say the Tigers are one of the front runners for Cespedes, and the large amount of Latin influence in Detroit’s organization is a plus for all of us Tigers fans. However, the snow I saw outside my window this morning is a big minus too. It has been stated that cold weather is a Latin player’s enemy, but is it a big enough factor to deter a player from being part of a team that plans of contending for the next few years, was in the playoffs just a season ago, and have some of the biggest names in baseball on the line-up card every game day? We’ll see.
Until the signing if official, I’ll hold out hope that my last Christmas present of the year is just coming later than December 25.