I don't know what to make of tonights game. A large part of me wants to panic, put my hands on my head and mumble "Oh my God, the Tigers have reverted back to the team that went 19-31 down the stretch and got swept by Kansas City at home on the final weekend of the regular season." I think this reaction would be justified based on these facts from the first three games:
1: Granderson, Polanco and Pudge being a combined 0-34. Granderson has reverted back to the horrendous leadoff man he was down the stretch. He gets behind in the count so quickly it seems as though he walks to the plate with an 0-2 count. He's also swinging at every breaking ball thrown his way, which happens to be tomorrow nights starter Jeff Suppan's specialty. Great. I was surprised that Polanco was 0-Series because it seems as though he's hit the ball hard several times, and of course I also wrote before the Series started that I didn't think he was capable of getting less than two hits a game, so is partially my fault.......as always. Where Granderson and Polanco have played well in the previous two rounds Pudge, on the other hand, has been completely worthless throughout the entire postseason. He doesn't have a hit since Game 1 of the ALCS, grounds out weakly to second base or if there are guys on, a momentum killing double play. Also it seems he's been lazy and indifferent behind the plate being slow or completely reluctant top get in front of balls in the dirt. Is it reactionary and stupid to suggest giving Vance Wilson a spot start? Yes. Is that what I'm asking for? Maybe.
2: Speaking of sloppy defense the Tigers are coming apart at the seams defensively at other positions, namely the pitching staff with three errors in the first three games. Verlander and Zumaya's errors were inexcusable. Verlander had no reason to try to hold an injured Pujols on first base and Zumaya who can consistently locate 100+ MPH fastballs can't toss a ball to Inge at third without it being 10 feet behind him. I've never understood why pitchers have such a hard time throwing to a base after they field a ball when they are so accurate otherwise. Does this apply to other professions. Do NASCAR drivers drive erratically when they are going through a neighborhood. Do surgeons carelessly mangle carving up turkeys on Thanksgiving.
3: Equally frustrating is Capri Sun's insistence on using these stupid pouches that just bend up your straw until you poke through the other side and have it drip down your leg in a vain attempt to get to the sweet nectar inside. Switch to boxes already, why must you tease us !!!!!
4: The Tigers were back to being the undisciplined free swinging group that got them into trouble late in the season. For most of the night Carpenter was averaging less then 10 pitches in inning, as most of the Tigers were swinging at the first strike they saw, or just going down on 3 straight pitches.
However the rest of me still isn't worried. If there was one game that I thought the Tigers would potentially lose heading into this Series (and I honestly thought the Tigers were going to sweep) it was going to be Game 3 at Busch Stadium with Chris Carpenter on the hill against Nate Robertson. That isn't a knock on Nate because I think he's a solid pitcher but Carpenter is the reigning N.L. Cy Young and nearly unhittable at home (for those of you who want to point out that I said the N.L. was the inferior league and Carpenter would be nothing more then a solid No.2 on a decent A.L. team, I just have one thing to say to you, "I'm not here to talk about the past",......moving on.) I still think the Tigers are in good shape and should be able to steal tomorrows game with Bonderman matching up against Jeff Suppan. Before the post-season I questioned Bondermans make-up and said he was going to be a complete disaster or he was going to come-up big and establish himself as one of the premier young pitchers in the A.L. and so far he's been the latter, pitching extremely well in the Series clinchers in the first two rounds. I would be lying if I said I wasn't feeling a little worried about the Tigers and the direction this Series is heading, but I still believe in this team and expect them to come up big tomorrow night. Go Tigers.