Sunday, October 22, 2006

Tigers Routed by Cardinals in Game 1

For the first time in the history of the Word Series, two rookie pitchers faced each other in game 1. Many Tiger fans were hoping the Cardinals would win the National League Championship in 7 games and that LaRussa might be forced to use Anthony Reyes in game 1 of the World series. They got their wish but it didn't turn out as planned. Reyes was masterful tonight going 8 innings and allowing just 2 runs on 4 hits and a walk as the Cardinals pounded the Tigers 7-2. He retired 17 batters in a row at one point, the most in a World Series game since Jose Rijo did it for the Reds in 1990.

The Tigers were likely rusty after the long layoff but Reyes took advantage of it with excellent control of all his pitches. Reyes spent the season bouncing between AAA and the majors but he is an excellent prospect who can be dominant at times. Tonight was one of those times. The only Tigers with hits were Craig Monroe (double and a home run) and Carlos Guillen (2 singles).

The other rookie was likely Rookie of the Year Justin Verlander. Verlander has not been as sharp lately as he was earlier in the season and tonight was another example of that. He was not as bad as his final line (7 runs in 5 innings) but he wasn't good either. He did match his season high with 8 strike outs but he made too many mistakes. Jim Leyland also made a mistake not intentionally walking Albert Pujols with first base open in the third. Pujols belted a two run homer to put the Cardinals in front 4-1. Leyland already admitted his mistake during an in game interview.

This series is not going to be the easy series many of us thought. The Cardinals have just won a game everybody thought would belong to the Tigers. Scott Rolen (homer and a double) may be breaking out of his slump. Things are looking up for the Cardinals. Unlike the Oakland series, the Tigers will have to work for this one. Tomorrow night it will be Kenny Rogers versus Jeff Weaver. This is another matchup that would appear to favor the Tigers but we were reminded tonight that this doesn't matter too much.

1 comment:

  1. Anything can happen in the post-season. The Tigers proved that when they beat the Yankees even though practically the entire world thought they had no chance.

    Hearing all the pundits predict a Tigers' Series win made me nervous. It seems to me that they're at their best in the underdog role.

    It seems that it was in early August that they stopped taking the baseball world by surprise. They weren't flying under the radar anymore. They became the team to beat as pennant season closed in. That's when they started to struggle.

    If not for the strategic error of pitching to Pujols in that spot, it could've been a different game. However, JV K'd him in his first AB, so I can see why Leyland may have held off walking him. A false sense of confidence?

    If not for some really sloppy play, it could've been a different game. The Tigers' offense also made that rookie look much, much, much better than he had a right to look. Of course, WS history is dotted with obscure and mediocre players who stepped up at the right time to become unlikely heroes. That's why anything can happen.

    If not for all of that, JV's line would've looked much better. You can't knock 8 Ks in 5 IP.

    How much of the overall performance can be chalked up to the week layoff? Who knows. I do think that will be the ugliest performance the Tigers turn in.

    I didn't think they'd sweep, and I don't think it'll go seven. This game was a good example of why it's sometimes silly to make predictions.

    After I was dejectedly leaving a bar after the Yanks won Game One of the ALDS way back when, a guy who was there said to me "It's just Game One". Those words have stuck with me all post-season, and they certainly rang true tonight.



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