We’re into the first travel day of the World Series, which means a third (of sorts) of the 2012 fall classic is in the book. The storyline so far? What is wrong with the Tigers.
If you’ll notice, that sentence wasn’t a question and intentionally so. That’s because we KNOW what’s wrong: what has gotten Detroit to where they are hasn’t showed up through two games: Verlander got lit up like Comerica Park at night and the bats have gone so quiet you’d think the top halves of these first games’ innings were nothing more than a formality.
We’re still five days away from Halloween, but Detroit is already in a living nightmare. They got the pitching matchup they wanted in Game 1 and, before they knew it, they were down 6-0. In game two, the pitching held up, but the lineup was swinging at Bumgarner’s pitches like they were blindfolded. Oh, and by the way, Matt Cain is about to make his first start in Game 4.
That’s where this October has really turned from treat to trick in a hurry for Motown. A few days ago, if you had told the Tigers they definitely wouldn’t face Matt Cain until Game 4, they probably would’ve been thrilled. Now, with the team still winless and Game 4 a possible elimination match, it’s looking like a perfect storm that’ll put Hurricane Sandy to shame.
One aspect of Detroit’s woes people really aren’t talking about is the newfound swing-and-miss to their offensive game. When this postseason started, I was touting the Tiger’s rare combination of power prowess and low strikeout totals. But through Games 1 and 2, Detroit batters have been wrung up a combined 17 times. Not that it needs to be said, but that won’t get the job done.
Neither will two hits in nine innings. Of course, the Giants took Game 2 by scoring two runs knocked in without hits. But when your pitching has been as lights-out as theirs has been, an anemic offense will trump a nonexistent one every time.
Moving to the American League ballpark, Detroit will be hoping the introduction of the DH to the lineups will be the Epipen their offense badly needs. But with only three runs through 18 innings, I can guarantee you having a “dead bat” at the bottom of the order isn’t what’s holding this crew bat.
To be blunt, this whole team was full of dead bats. Prince Fielder? 1 for 6. Ajax? 2 for 7. And that AL MVP shoo-in, Miguel Cabrera? 1 for 5.
To make matters worse, when they HAVE gotten on base, the opportunities have largely been squandered. I love Prince Fielder to death, but watching him huff and puff down the third base line as the ball leisurely sailed past him to the catcher was physically painful.
To be honest, that play right there was a microcosm of how this first bit of the World Series has gone for the Tigers. Detroit looked like they were coming into this series with a full head of steam and the Giants just flew right past them.
Now, of course, the Giants are flying to Detroit. So are the Tigers. But despite where we find the teams PHYSICALLY on this Friday, very little about this World Series currently is up in the air. I’m sure you’ve seen the statistics. Those who jump out to a 2 games to 0 lead lift the trophy almost 80% of the time.
Motown has to be worried about that, but they can’t dwell on it. With how one-sided these first games have been, they need to make sure first that there is, at the very least, a trip back to bay area.
NOTE: This story was originally published on SportsHead. To read this article and others click here.
When Bryan isn’t writing, he is on Twitter! Make sure to follow him @bclienesch for MLB updates and other shenanigans!