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.