Archive for ‘Playoffs’

Thursday: 10.12.2006

The Aftermath: Game 2

I said before the game that the lineup construction was absolutely awful and I was, of course, referring to Neifi Perez‘s presence not only in the lineup, but in the ever-crucial #2 slot! Despite that horrendous error in judgement, the lineup worked, to the tune of eight runs as the Tigers leave the Bay Area with a 2-0 lead in the League Championship Series! One lineup adjustment that did favor the team was the insertion of Alexis Gomez. Gomez took home player of the game honors with a 2-for-4, 4 RBI performance that included a home run. Placido Polanco remained white hot with another three hits driving his postseason average to .440 (11-for-25).

The A’s actually brought some offense to the table tonight, twice taking the lead, but unable to hold the Tigers off. Milton Bradley crushed two home runs as part of his 4-for-5 evening, but it wasn’t enough for the A’s. Starter Esteban Loaiza was tattooed for seven runs on nine hits in six innings giving the Tigers a lead in the 4th inning that they would not relinquish again. Oakland got the RISP monkey off of their backs tonight, but Tigers pitching struck them out 13 times, including three from Frank Thomas and Nick Swisher.

The two teams will enjoy a day off while traveling to Detroit before firing it back up on Friday night at Comerica Park. Here is a look at the Friday forecast for Detroit:

That should make for a heckuva ballgame if the weather stays on that course. Friday’s game features Kenny Rogers against Rich Harden. Harden has not pitched very much at all this season so it will be especially interesting to see how the cold weather affects him.

A few thoughts and notes from tonight’s game (decidely less anti-Steve Lyons):

– I think when Lou Piniella called Neifi Perez a “veteran player”, he was looking for a nice way to say piece of crap.

– My thoughts are confirmed when he then refers to Loaiza as a “veteran pitcher.”

– Verlander was all over the map in that first inning, but it was nice to see him bear down and take it to Thomas for the first of Thomas’ three strikeouts on the evening.

– “Man of the Year” might be the worst movie idea ever. Who greenlights this crap? Please just go away Robin Williams.

– Anyone see the kid holding up the “Leyland for Governor” sign? Was it or was it not Chris Shelton? I know he didn’t make the postseason roster, but was he banned entirely from the dugout and now he’s holding up signs in the stands?!?

– The old announcer jinx strikes again after they discuss how Carlos Guillen owns Loaiza seconds before he strikes out. Never let an announcer discuss how your field goal kicker hasn’t missed in 20 tries with the game on the line, because your team is bound to lose shortly thereafter.

– Diamond Cam goes 2-for-2 in games where it is completely useless. Every other angle of Craig Monroe‘s slide into home was significantly better than that pile of crap.

– The shots of Nate Robertson and the gum are just downright hilarious. He even talks about it at his blog.

Eric Chavez clearly took his eyes off of the ball hit by Alexis Gomez that cost the A’s two runs. Chavez is arguably the best defensive third baseman in the game, yet he’s been a liability almost in these first two LCS games.

Jason Kendall just looks like an a-hole.

– After early struggles, Verlander’s curveball was absolutely disgusting from the 2nd inning on. Though neither performance in the playoffs was anything near dominant, Verlander is something special and has pitched well enough for a rookie in his first postseason.

– Lyons (sorry, I had to) obviously has no idea what a quality start is, because he thinks that Verlander allowing four runs in five and a third meets the criteria.

Here is a look at the composite boxscore for the LCS as well as a look at Detroit’s postseason composite:

Detroit
Tigers
AB  R  H  RBI  BB  K  HR AVG
Granderson 10 2 4 1 0 1 1 0.400
Polanco 8 1 4 1 2 1 0 0.500
Casey 3 0 1 0 1 0 0 0.333
Ordonez 9 1 2 1 1 1 0 0.222
Guillen 9 1 2 0 0 3 0 0.222
Rodriguez 8 2 2 1 0 1 1 0.250
Monroe 7 2 2 1 0 1 0 0.286
Thames 4 1 0 0 0 1 0 0.000
Inge 6 2 3 3 1 0 1 0.500
Gomez 4 1 2 4 0 0 1 0.500
Santiago 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000
 Totals 68 13 22 12 5 9 4 0.324

 

Oakland
A’s
AB  R  H  RBI  BB  K  HR AVG
Kendall 8 0 2 0 2 0 0 0.250
Kotsay 8 2 4 0 1 1 0 0.500
Bradley 9 3 6 4 0 0 2 0.667
Thomas 8 0 0 0 1 3 0 0.000
Payton 8 0 3 1 0 1 0 0.375
Chavez 7 1 2 1 1 3 1 0.286
Swisher 6 0 0 0 2 5 0 0.000
Scutaro 8 0 0 0 0 3 0 0.000
Jimenez 7 0 2 0 0 1 0 0.286
Melhuse 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.000
Totals 70 6 19 6 7 18 3 0.271



2006 Postseason Composite Boxscore for the Detroit Tigers:

Player AB R H RBI BB SO HR AVG
Granderson 27 5 9 6 0 2 3 0.333
Polanco 25 4 11 3 3 2 0 0.440
Casey 20 1 7 4 1 0 0 0.350
Ordonez 24 4 6 3 2 3 1 0.250
Guillen 23 5 10 3 3 2 1 0.435
Rodriguez 22 5 5 3 2 6 0 0.227
Monroe 24 4 5 4 0 4 3 0.208
Thames 22 3 7 2 1 6 0 0.318
Inge 21 3 5 3 1 6 1 0.238
Gomez 4 1 2 4 0 0 1 0.500
Santiago 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000
Totals 213 35 67 35 13 31 10 0.315



And finally, a rundown of the other postgame thoughts from around the blogsphere:

Detroit Tiger Tales
Mack Avenue Tigers
Detroit Free Press: Drew Sharp
Detroit Free Press: Michael Rosenberg
Detroit News: Bob Wojnowski
Detroit News: Rob Parker

Athletics Nation
San Francisco Chronicle: Ray Ratto
San Jose Mercury News: Mark Purdy
Contra Costa Times: Josh Suchon

ESPN: Jim Caple
MLB.com: Mike Bauman

I’ll add more in the morning/early afternoon.

Wednesday: 10.11.2006

The Lineups: Game 2

Detroit Tigers

CF – C.Granderson
SS – N.Perez
2B – P.Polanco
RF – M.Ordonez
1B – C.Guillen
C – I.Rodriguez
LF – C.Monroe
DH – A.Gomez
3B – B.Inge

Oakland Lineup

C – J.Kendall
CF – M.Kotsay
RF – M.Bradley
DH – F.Thomas
3B – E.Chavez
LF – J.Payton
1B – N.Swisher
SS – M.Scutaro
2B – D.Jimenez

Game Time 7:19 – Central Time

Worst.
Lineup.
Ever.

I understand that things need to change with Sean Casey getting hurt, but not only should Neifi Perez not be in the lineup, but he shouldn’t be anywhere near the #2 hole. If you are going to use this group of players, it should be as follows, in my opinion:

Granderson
Polanco
Rodriguez
Ordonez
Guillen
Monroe
Gomez
Inge
Perez

Furthermore, Omar Infante should be in for Perez. So far, what Leyland does has worked, so I’ll standby and wait for the results, but Perez hits like Steve Lyons announces.

Wednesday: 10.11.2006

The Aftermath: Game 1

I hurried home from work to watch my DVR’d version of game 1 of the LCS and after three plus hours of viewing, my prevailing thought is: Steve Lyons is an idiot. Of course, I’m happy with the performance of the team as they pretty much embarrassed Oakland’s offense. Oakland contributed to the embarrassment themselves, but I give Detroit’s pitching plenty of credit as well. Nate Robertson pitched out of trouble several times in his five innings of work and came out unscathed despite putting nine runners on. Fernando Rodney, Joel Zumaya and Todd Jones finished off the final four innings allowing just four more runners on base.

The offense continued to pound out hits including Brandon Inge‘s coming out party with a 3-for-3 performance. He was a triple short of a cycle, drove in two runs, scored two more and drew a walk. The offense also drew five walks while striking out just three times, a rarity for them. In addition to Inge’s two extra base hits, Curtis Granderson added a double and Ivan Rodriguez smacked a home run.

Some note I took from the game, most of which pertain to Lyons’ idiocy:

– When Marco Scutaro came up with runners on 2nd and 3rd, Lyons noted that he is the most clutch hitter on the Oakland A’s. Seconds later, as if they wanted to thoroughly embarrass him, the producers posted a graphic showing that Scutaro hit .162 with runners in scoring position and two outs. It was funny to hear Lyons try and refute the graphic.

Lou Piniella comments that Jim Leyland is the only American League manager that wears cleats during the game (marking the 45,281st that this has been mentioned in the playoffs), but then Lyons chimes in that Bobby Cox does, too! I guess no one told Lyons that Atlanta is in the National League.

Craig Monroe‘s defense has been absolutely stellar in the playoffs, including yesterday’s diving grab that actually netted #1 on SportsCenter’s Top Plays.

– Not only did Oakland look awful at the plate with runners in scoring position, but they were terribly sloppy on defense. The usually sure-handed Eric Chavez couldn’t even save them last night. It was just a disaster all around for the A’s.

Joe Kennedy ran three straight pitches up over 96 MPH in an at-bat against Placido Polanco, I didn’t know he threw that hard.

– When Fernando Rodney drops down to 90 MPH after a steady diet of upper 90s fastballs, the crew suggest that the 90 MPH pitch is his changeup. Lyons said that 7 MPH is a good differential… Piniella quickly called him out on such a ridiculous suggestion.

– The slow-mo replay of Sean Casey‘s calf popping was disgusting.

– The dead silence after Lyons made fun of Piniella taking the Tampa Bay job was hilarious. I can’t stand Steve Lyons in case you couldn’t tell.

– I just loved it how Joel Zumaya shattered Milton Bradley‘s bat on his first pitch of the game.

– Bradley then pulled a 103 MPH. Not only did he get around on it, but he was early on a triple digit fastball!

– Outside of Steve Lyons’ life, is there anything more useless than Diamond Cam? It offers nothing! I can’t remember exactly what replay it was, but there was a point where Thom Brenneman was saying that Diamond Cam was awesome for the particular play and it showed absolutely nothing. I think it was on a hit where Pudge or Guillen let ball get deep into the zone, but you’d never know with that lame, worthless piece of crap camera angle.

– Huge surprise that Lyons doesn’t know what a genuflect is. He then mentions something about how he should have been umpire… anything but a commentator, that’s for sure.

– I have thoroughly beaten the dead horse, but I’ll continue. It was hilarious when Lyons said he was trying to suck up to Piniella so that he can become a bench coach and then Piniella just goes, “Oh god!”

Though the A’s did a lot to beat themselves, including going 0-for-13 with RISP, I am definitely pleased by the team’s performance and ability to get out to a commanding 1-0 lead. Tonight definitely benefits the team in terms of pitching matchups with Justin Verlander against Esteban Loaiza.

Tuesday: 10.10.2006

A Quick Preview

vs.

I don’t have time to do a full preview of the LCS series because of work and other writing commitments, but I’m extremely excited for this series. I predicted Oakland to beat Detroit in the LCS when I made my initial playoff previews, then I saw how well the Tigers were pitching and now I’m like Detroit to take the series. I don’t think it’ll be sweep, but I think the Tigers can end it in less than seven.

To predict the same level of dominance from the pitching is probably expecting too much, but I think it’ll be near the same level and they’ll be facing a much lesser lineup in the A’s. The A’s bring a level of pitching far exceeding that of the New York Yankees meaning the offense will need to remain opportunistic and cash in their chances when they get them. I think the series is going to be a real dogfight and we should see some of the closest games in the playoffs with these two pitching-fueled teams squaring off.

Detroit in 6.

Tuesday: 10.10.2006

The Lineups: Game 1

Detroit Tigers

CF – C.Granderson
2B – P.Polanco
1B – S.Casey
RF – M.Ordonez
SS – C.Guillen
C – I.Rodriguez
LF – C.Monroe
DH – M.Thames
3B – B.Inge

Oakland A’s

C – J.Kendall
CF – M.Kotsay
RF – M.Bradley
DH – F.Thomas
LF – J.Payton
3B – E.Chavez
1B – N.Swisher
SS – M.Scutaro
2B – D.Jimenez

Game Time 7:19 Central Time

Saturday: 10.7.2006

Complete Series Boxscore

Detroit
Tigers
             
Player AB R H RBI HR BB SO AVG
Granderson 17 3 5 5 2 0 1 0.294
Polanco 17 3 7 2 0 1 1 0.412
Casey 17 1 6 4 0 0 0 0.353
Ordonez 15 3 4 2 1 1 2 0.267
Guillen 14 4 8 2 1 2 1 0.571
Rodriguez 13 3 3 3 0 2 3 0.231
Monroe 16 2 3 3 2 0 3 0.188
Thames 15 2 5 1 0 1 5 0.333
Inge 15 1 2 0 0 0 6 0.133
TOTAL 139 22 43 22 6 7 22 0.309
               
New
York Yankees
             
Player AB R H RBI HR BB K AVG
Damon 17 0 4 3 1 1 2 0.235
Jeter 16 4 8 1 1 1 2 0.500
Abreu 15 2 5 4 0 2 2 0.333
Sheffield 12 1 1 1 0 0 4 0.083
Phillips 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000
Giambi 8 1 1 2 1 2 3 0.125
Rodriguez 14 0 1 0 0 0 4 0.071
Matsui 16 1 4 0 0 0 2 0.250
Posada 14 2 7 0 1 2 2 0.500
Cano 15 0 2 0 0 0 1 0.133
Williams 3 0 0 0 0 0 2 0.000
Cabrera 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000
TOTAL 134 11 33 11 4 8 24 0.246


ALDS MVP:
Placido Polanco

Both Sean Casey and Carlos Guillen we deserving, but I think Polanco was the catalyst. What Craig Monroe lacked at the plate, he made up in defense, especially today.

Watching that celebration today was absolutely awesome. I will be keeping that game and postgame on my DVR for some time. Next up are the Oakland A’s. It’s a rematch of the 1972 LCS that Oakland won in five. Tuesday night’s game features Barry Zito against Nate Robertson.

Saturday: 10.7.2006

O-M-G!!!

Words cannot begin to describe how good I am feeling right now. Coming into the series, I was terrified of the big, bad Yankees. After game one, I gained a lot of confidence in the team and felt that with a game two win, they were very much part of this series. Last night’s magical performance by Kenny Rogers shifted a series win from possible to probable. Having Jeremy Bonderman on the mound against a shmuck like Jaret Wright gave me tons of confidence that the team could avoid a trip back to New York. I have plenty to say, but right now, I’m just going to soak it in and watch the Mets game with my girlfriend.

Here are some pictures from the game:

Saturday: 10.7.2006

The Lineups: Game 4

NY Yankees

SP – J.Wright

CF J. Damon
SS D. Jeter
RF B. Abreu
1B G. Sheffield
DH H. Matsui
C J. Posada
2B R. Cano
3B A. Rodriguez
LF M. Cabrera

Detroit Tigers

SP – J.Bonderman

CF C. Granderson
2B P. Polanco
1B S. Casey
RF M. Ordonez
SS C. Guillen
C I. Rodriguez
LF C. Monroe
DH M. Thames
3B B. Inge

Game time – 3:05 Central Time

Saturday: 10.7.2006

Composite After 3.

Here is the composite boxscore after the game three win in Detroit:

Detroit Tigers              
Player AB R H RBI HR BB SO AVG
Granderson 12 3 5 5 2 0 1 0.417
Polanco 12 1 5 2 0 1 1 0.417
Casey 12 0 4 3 0 0 0 0.333
Ordonez 11 0 2 0 0 1 2 0.182
Guillen 10 3 5 1 1 2 1 0.500
Rodriguez 11 2 2 1 0 1 3 0.182
Monroe 12 2 2 1 1 0 2 0.167
Thames 11 2 4 1 0 1 4 0.364
Inge 11 1 1 0 0 0 5 0.091
TOTAL 102 14 30 14 4 6 19 0.294
               
New
York Yankees
             
Player AB R H RBI HR BB K AVG
Damon 14 3 4 3 1 0 2 0.286
Jeter 12 3 7 1 1 1 1 0.583
Abreu 11 1 3 4 0 2 2 0.273
Sheffield 8 1 1 1 0 0 2 0.125
Phillips 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000
Giambi 8 1 1 2 1 2 3 0.125
Rodriguez 11 0 1 0 0 0 4 0.091
Matsui 12 1 4 0 0 0 2 0.333
Posada 10 1 5 0 0 2 1 0.500
Cano 11 0 1 0 0 0 1 0.091
Williams 3 0 0 0 0 0 2 0.000
TOTAL 101 11 27 11 3 7 20 0.267


It goes without saying that today’s game is absolutely huge. I really don’t want to go back to New York. Texas-OU and Michigan-Michigan State can wait, because I won’t miss a minute of this game.

Friday: 10.6.2006

The Lineups: Game 3

New York Yankees

SP – R. Johnson

CF J. Damon
SS D. Jeter
RF B. Abreu
3B A. Rodriguez
1B J. Giambi
C J. Posada
LF H. Matsui
DH B. Williams
2B M. Cairo R. Cano (stupid Yahoo!)

Detroit Tigers

SP – K. Rogers

2B P. Polanco
LF C. Monroe
DH M. Thames
RF M. Ordonez
SS C. Guillen
C I. Rodriguez
1B S. Casey
3B B. Inge
CF C. Granderson

Game time: 7:05 PM Central

The CoPa will be rockin’!!!!!!