Saturday, October 07, 2006

TIGERS KNOCK OFF YANKEES

For the second straight game, a pitcher considered by many fans and members of the media to be too emotionally fragile to win a pressure game against a powerful line-up stopped the Yankees cold. Last night it was Kenny Rogers. Today it was Jeremy Bonderman. Perhaps fans don't know their players as much as they think they do! Bonderman allowed just 2 runs on 5 hits in 8 1/3 innings as the Tigers crushed the Yankees 8-3 and took the series from the Yankees 3 games to 1.

In my series preview, I had predicted that the Tigers would win the series because of superior pitching but never in my wildest dreams did I think that they would win so convincingly. At one point, they held "the best line-up ever assembled" scoreless for 20 straight innings. In the last two games, the Yankees actually looked overmatched. Beating the Yankees is one thing. Completely shutting them down is something else.

Just like the regular season, the Tigers primary strength in this series was pitching but they also did some hitting. And just as in the regular season, the leading hitter was the starting shortstop. Carlos Guillen had 3 more hits today to give him 3 straight multiple hit games. For the series, Guillen went 8 for 14 with 2 walks, 3 doubles and a homer. This stacks up quite well against MVP candidate Derek Jeter who went 8 for 16 with 1 walk, 4 doubles and a homer. This comes to no surprise to Tiger fans who know that the two shortstops have been statistically similary all year long.

The post-game celebration was a unique and down to earth affair that may very well change the way baseball teams celebrate for years to come. After carrying Jim Leyland off the field and briefly celebrating privately in the clubhouse, they brought the party to the fans. They shook hands with fans and even doused some of them with champagne. They will likely be accused by some of over celebrating a first round playoff victory but I thought it was well done and warranted. After years of frustration, this series was a tremendous release for fans and the city of Detroit. I think the celebration was pefectly appropriate.

3 comments:

  1. I flat out disagreed with your pre-series assesment that the Tigers would win. You were absolutely correct. I was definitely clouded by the "matchups". Seeing a team that takes a bunch of pitches, a staff with a few guys who nibble at the corners. And a free swinging offense against veteran pitching I completely misread the hunger and passion that the Tigers summoned. They are definitely the better team, small sample size or not.
    KS

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  2. Lee, that celebration with the fans brought tears to my eyes. At the risk of sounding ridiculous, the relation of a fan to their team is a sacred trust. The players honored this trust and brought their celebration out of the clubhouse and into the stands. Fans and team were one in a beautiful display of solidarity I will never forget.

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  3. Doug PurdieOctober 09, 2006

    Thanks for tooting Guillen's horn. It isn't tooted nearly enough. I thought I was the only one who noticed that his overall season number weren't much different than the MVP favorite SS from NY.
    And look how consistantly good he has been all three years with the Tigers - their best hitter during that time. No, it isn't Pudge, or Mags or Mr. Clutch HR, C-Mo. Carlos is The Man.
    Watch how he controls the strike zone or runs the bases. He seems to only swing at strikes and when he does swing he almost always makes contact. Besides natural ability, his head is in the game 100% of the time. This Cat knows how to play it the right way.

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