Note: During the playoffs, Monday Morning Manager will be answering Burning Questions. The morning after every Tigers playoff game, come back here for MMM’s answers to the questions that many of you have about the previous night’s game. Today’s BQs address Game 2 of the World Series.
As David Bowie once sang, “Panic in Detroit.” Correct?
Pretty much. Going down 0-2 takes your margin for error, which in the World Series is already narrow, and closes it almost entirely. You can say whatever you want about the Giants merely holding serve at home, but the fact of the matter is, the Tigers have to figure out a way to win on Saturday night. Period.
The Tigers haven’t caught a break yet. Are the Giants a team of destiny?
MMM still believes in the power of change-of-venue, especially with the Tigers, who play much better at home. Maybe an off-day, some travel, and chilly Detroit will cool off the Giants and turn the tide. But the bottom line is you are not going to win too many baseball games by managing two hits.
Well, you called it. You said Madison Bumgarner was going to eat the Tigers’ lunch. Was his stuff that good?
No. MMM was appalled at the swings and misses that Mad-Bum induced. Once again, a guy on a bad streak gets healthy against the Tigers. It's happened a lot this season. MMM would almost rather have seen Bumgarner’s ERA being 1.12 in the postseason rather than 11.25. Bumgarner got an amazing number of swings and misses with his high fastball, which is hardly explosive. Brutal offensive performance by the Tigers.
Twitter almost blew up when third-base coach Gene Lamont sent Prince Fielder home in the second inning, trying to score Prince from first base on Delmon Young’s double. Prince made a bad slide, but how bad was the decision to send him?
MMM doesn’t have enough breath to tell you how bad that was. MMM played Little League ball, and even at age 8 he was told, “Never make the first out of an inning at third base or home plate.” That decision was rotten to the core. It wasn’t like the Giants had to make extraordinary effort; just a simple relay. Had Lamont done the right thing, the Tigers would have had runners on second and third with nobody out. Jhonny Peralta didn’t help matters either, by popping out on the first pitch after that play. So suddenly there were two outs and a man on second, just like that. Changed the inning dramatically. The Tigers could have gotten to Bumgarner very early in what was termed to be a bounce-back start for him.
Playing devil’s advocate here, was Lamont merely trying to get the Tigers on the board early?
If that was Austin Jackson or Quintin Berry, maybe you send the runner. But again, there was nobody out. Chances are you’d get that run home sometime during the course of the inning; no need to push the envelope there. All that play did was rob the Tigers of some early momentum and get the crowd back into it. So, so wrong. What a time to be betrayed by your coaches.
Why can’t the Tigers score runs for Doug Fister?
That’s rhetorical, right? MMM has no clue. Fister just has had bad luck lately in that department. Unfortunately for him, the Tigers were facing a junkball lefty—the kind of pitcher who eats them alive.
Another key play and example of the breaks going the Giants way was the sacrifice bunt laid down by Gregor Blanco in the seventh inning, with two men on and no outs. Catcher Gerald Laird elected to let the ball roll, and it stayed fair. Thoughts?
MMM was yelling for Laird to pounce on it and throw. It wasn’t THAT close to rolling foul. Never leave your fate to chance like that, especially in a series where you are starving for breaks. Laird should have fielded the ball, gunned Blanco out, and moved on. It was very fortuitous that the Giants only scored one run in that inning, not that it mattered. But while that was a break for the Giants, it was the result of poor decision-making by the Tigers.
Kung Fu Panda, Pablo Sandoval, reared his head again, this time with the glove—robbing Miguel Cabrera of a double by spearing Miggy’s laser in the fourth inning. Why won’t he leave the Tigers alone?
How he made that catch is anyone’s guess. You can’t hit a ball any harder than Cabrera hit that line drive. Yet Sandoval, all 300 pounds of him, was able to flash some dexterity and make the catch. It was another head-shaker, and MMM can only hope that those kinds of breaks stay with the home team in Detroit.
So here we are at must-win time; you said so yourself.
Thanks for the reminder. But it’s true. No other way to put it.
Is this Series reminding you of 2006?
Not until Lamont’s blunder. MMM wrote off Game 1 as just one of those bad nights that happen sometimes, even in the World Series. But after watching Lamont make love to the pooch on the send of Fielder, memories of all that bad baseball the Tigers played against the Cardinals in 2006 definitely came roaring back (no pun intended). In that Series, the Tigers were done in largely because their pitchers couldn’t field their position. Lamont’s blunder has put a new wrinkle on self-destruction.
Any final thoughts?
Last night’s game was everything we crabbed about during the season, in a microcosm. Lamont (who is no favorite in Detroit); paralyzed hitting against a hittable pitcher; no run-support for Fister; an offense that goes into hibernation on the road. It was all there last night, shining its light directly into the Tigers eyes.
Anibal Sanchez to the rescue in Game 3? He has to go up against Ryan Vogelsong, who’s been very good in the postseason.
Wait—did you say the other team’s pitcher has been very good? Great!! MMM likes those odds. If you had told him that Vogelsong was 0-2 with an 11.25 ERA, like Bumgarner, then MMM would have squirmed. Bring on the guys with the good numbers!!
I have one word for you: cynical.
I have two words for you. Wanna hear them?
Come back here Sunday for BQ after World Series Game 3!!