Honestly, I don’t have a God damn thing to add to yesterday’s incredible, kind-of come-from-behind victory (they were down 1-0 early on) the Detroit Tigers managed to pull off in their last game in Michigan in the ALCS.
Except this: oh, fuck yes!
Yesterday’s game was weird, and fortunately or unfortunately, it confirmed something in my mind: the Texas Rangers are a better team. At least right now.
The Tigers are beat up, and they don’t have anywhere near the deadly line-up the Rangers possess. They don’t have that complexity, the speed on the bases, the ability to create runs a dozen different ways. I believe the Tigers have better starting pitching. And yet we saw another decent, though hardly mind-blowing, performance from soon-to-be Cy Young and hopefully MVP Justin Verlander.
He’s either tired, aching, or, perhaps the Rangers can just hit anything. Their batters seriously seem capable of driving even perfect pitches for screaming line drives. Top to bottom, they scare me. Their bullpen is lights-out (where ours is more like a dimmer switch.) Texas has the look of a club who’s going to go far.
So, Peter, do you believe your Tigers are lucky, and soon to exit this postseason? Yes, and no. Yes, I think they’re lucky, at least they were last night. No, I don’t believe they’re done.
See, the Tigers aren’t as good as the Rangers. But the Twins weren’t as good as the Tigers in ’87, and the Cardinals were pale shadows of the Tigers in ’06. Those two clubs are perhaps the worst World Series champions in my lifetime. Seriously, can you name anyone worse?
That’s how it works. And it’s not as if the Tigers are Minnesota and St. Louis of ’87 and ’06. They’re a good team. Just not as good as Texas. But well managed teams take advantage of the breaks that come their way–”luck is the residue of design” Branch Rickey supposedly once said. You can be a team that is far from great, that’s beat up and nearly broken, and still squeak out a championship. And last night, man, they caught a break. A couple in fact.
I wish I’d seen them, but I got to hear Dan Dickerson and Jim Price aurally freak out. With no one out in the sixth, the game tied at two, Ryan Raburn stoked a single to left. Up comes the big cat, Miguel Cabrera, who smashes a playable grounder to Adrian Beltre. Well, apparently third base didn’t like that, because it got in the way and made the ball bounce right over Beltre’s head for a clean double. Would have been a double play without question. Tigers up 3-2.
Victor Martinez then sent a Japanese bullet train into right, and Nelson Cruz got to dive and miss and look like a fucking fool for a change, instead of the instant hero he’s been every other game. That was the second lucky break. Martinez, slow, gimpy Martinez, ended up with a triple.
What next? Delmon. Delmon Young smashed a home run, and circled the bases wearing a cowboy hat and extending his middle fingers high, and blew a raspberry at C. J. Wilson.
No, he didn’t do that at all, but he did crack a home run, his second home run of the day, and the Tigers were up 6-2. In case you weren’t following, the team hit for the cycle–single, double, triple, home run. Four batters, four runs, no outs, the cycle. That’s pretty fucking cool.
Raburn hit a home run in the seventh, and thank God, because the Rangers struck for three more (including two on a homer by that damn Cruz.) Jesus Christ, we can’t ever make this thing easy.
But we squeaked by, and the Tigers have to win a pair in the land of Rick Perry in order to take that AL Pennant. We’ve got injured guys smacking homers, aces barely getting by, and gimpy catchers finally beginning to hit. And now we’re standing on the nation’s highways, thumbs out, waiting for Large Marge to haul our asses to Texas.
If Pee Wee can be a hit at the Alamo, so can the Detroit Tigers.