Friday, October 13, 2006

Detroit Breakdown

I don't know how the Tigers are doing this. I really don't. For all the talk that Frank Thomas just missed that Todd Jones pitch that could have tied the series the other night, he did miss it, and being up 2-0 coming home is a great position for Detroit to be in. And on top of that, they get to start Division Series heroes Rogers and Bonderman in the next two games against a rusty and/or banged up Rich Harden and a possibly "too little, too late" Danny Haren.

They're in the driver's seat right now, despite Sean Casey, the only first baseman on their roster, being out since the middle of game one, and now it looks like Zumaya is a question mark the rest of the way, too. They've got as many as five games to go with a 23-man roster, and they'll probably pull it off. They're a full-team incarnation of Steve McNair at this point - bum knee, injured shoulder, no receivers... no sweat; he'll still throw for 250 yards and beat you.

And not to sound too much like Ross here, but the Tiger lineup is brutal, especially with Casey out. This is who they're sending up against Harden tonight:


Omar Infante is DH-ing! And hitting seventh! In the A-L-C-S!!!!! To make a not-completely-relevant point that only serves to back up my own argument (real sportswriters are great at this), Nick Swisher is hitting 7th for the A's. Granted, he's been completely impotent in this series, but he had 35 homers and an .864 OPS this year (compared to Infante's 4 and .740).

Not-so-quick aside: a few years ago, Ross came up to Boston to see the Yanks play at Fenway for the first time. He got in the day before the game, and we watched that day's game at my new apartment. That game happened to be the A-Rod/Varitek/Rivera/Mueller game. Needless to say, Ross wasn't in a great mood after that game. So I happened to have a tape of Game Five of the 2000 World Series, which I threw in to cheer him up.

Anyway, this was only four years later, but we had both forgotten how awful the 2000 Mets' lineup was. I mean, there were Bubba Trammells and Kurt Abbotts everywhere. We couldn't believe that team was in the World Series. My point is, these Tigers could be those Mets years from now. When I'm firing up my DVD of the World Series clincher for old time's sake in 2010 and I see a lineup full of Infantes and Inges and Neifi Perezes, I'll probably shake my head and wonder how they made it that far.

Of course, right now, the reason is clear - the A's are playing like crap because I picked them to win the series. And even though this post is a blatant attempt to reverse-jinx my pick of A's in six, right now I'm just hoping the Tigers destroy Zito in game five to take the series, both to see another crazy celebration in Detroit, and to see if Scott Boras has a coronary over Zito's impending free agency. He'll probably still get the Rangers or the Cubs to overpay for him, but it would still be fun.

And with players getting hurt left and right like the Tigers have, getting past the A's would be pretty impressive.

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