O.K. so my quick prediction has gotten off to a bad start, but I couldn't be happier. I thought the Tigers would drop tonight's game because the pitching matchup was slightly in Oaklands favor seeing as how Zito was 7-5 with a 2.68 ERA in his career against Detroit including a stellar outing in a no decision earlier this year. However the Tigers pitching is on a roll and it continued tonight with Nate Robertson giving us five solid innings before turning it over to the bullpen, which was spectacular for the last four innings and secured a huge Game 1 victory.
As a way to avoid writing full coherent paragraphs with transition sentences I am going to write some rapid fire observations from tonight's game. If you start to get a splitting headache from reading this I would advise you to stop because it might be your brain melting inside your head.
1: Nate Robertson wasn't sharp tonight but he was lights out every time it looked like the A's might crawl back into the game. Case in point was the bottom of the fourth inning after the Tigers had jumped on top 5-0 and chased Zito from the game. Frank Thomas led off with a walk followed by a Jay Payton double to deep left that Craig Monroe played terribly off the wall, (although he did have a spectacular diving catch to rob the completely insane Milton Bradley later in the game. Honestly though if your name is Milton Bradley you only have two options growing up to be a nerdy white guy who wears one of those green accounting visors or being a completely insane black guy, theres no in between.) Robertson looked as though he was going to have a mini-meltdown similar to game 1 of the ALDS where he gave up 6 straight base hits. So Chuck Hernandez walks out calms Robertson down and then gets Chavez to strike out swinging. Ditto Swisher. Now its up to Marco Scutaro, strike 3 looking Robertson pumps his fist, I jump up and start exchanging awkward high fives with strangers and the A's never really threatened again. Easily the biggest moment of the game.
2: Speaking of Frank Thomas anybody could have scored on that Payton double. Anybody, including my Grandpa who probably would have scored and had time to roll up his pantleg and show Eric Chavez how bad his case of gout was. He was never a fast guy to begin with but watching Frank try to run around the bases is just sad, can't we chip in and buy him a Segway to move around the bases or something.
3. For having a reputation as a free swinging team, the Tigers have been very patient at the plate the last four games. They haven't drawn a ton of walks per se but they are working the count, being patient and getting the pitches they want to hit. When was the last time they made a pitcher throw 40 pitches in an inning like they did tonight? 1911? I don't know how I feel about Zito either. It seems like he would be cool sometimes and then you see that one of his favorite actors is Patrick Duffy. He also seems like he would switch from being really nice and funny to moody and pissy. I've never had as hard a time deciding if I like or hate an athlete as much as I have with Barry Zito.
4: I thought I would let you the reader know that by the time you read this post I may be dead. It's 3 A.M. and I'm eating Nutella smeared onto Nilla wafers and washing it down by drinking out of a two liter of RC Cola. I believe that there is 54 grams of fat on each of these Wafers. I can't back this up as a fact, I need Jared Fogle to tell me these things.
5: Fernando Rodney was great tonight in his first appearance in over a week, including hitting 100 MPH on the gun. It also looked like he had spent the last week in a crack den in Detroit. That guy has to be on drugs. Has to be, either that or he has the worst untreated case of pink eye in the history of man.
6: I love Joel Zumaya. He has it all, the fastball, the swagger, the acting I am 100% envious of this guy. There is nothing better then when Zumaya realizes he has a guy at the plate who is completely overmatched by his fastball. Frank Thomas was the victim tonight like Giambi was in the ALDS. Zumaya threw a 100+ MPH fastball right by him and he knew the at bat was over. Thomas didnt have a chance and grounded out weakly to shortstop. That guys amazing.
Finally I can't believe that the Tigers are 3 wins away from the World Series. It didn't fully hit me until tonight that if the Tigers win this series they will be in he World Series. I'm not saying this series is over by any stretch of the imagination because Oakland is an excellent team, but I can't wait until this weekend when Oakland comes to town and its 36 degrees out and Zumaya is throwing 101 and it feels like they are trying to hit a shotput because its so freaking cold out, and they just want to go home. I can't wait until this weekend.