Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Tigers No Match Because The Magic Vanished Long Ago

During games 1 thru 112, it wouldn't have happened that way. In games 1 thru 112, the ball would have been slapped to right, a run would have scored, and runners would have still been on the corners. In games 1 thru 112, the inning would have produced a couple of runs, at least.

During games 1 thru 112, the tapper toward the mound would have been fielded cleanly, and little harm would have been done. If this was game 1 thru 112, the slugging Yankee DH wouldn't have been able to muscle the high and inside pitch over the rightfield fence.

In paragraph one, Placido Polanco hit into an inning-ending double play, with runners on first and third and one out. Polanco, the most reliable of all the Tigers with a bat when bat control is needed, uncharacteristically pulled a pitch to the left side of the infield. 6-4-3.

In paragraph two, Nate Robertson's flub of Johnny Damon's swinging bunt changed the complexion of the Yankees' third inning. You can't give this Yankees team a fourth out, especially when it's hard enough to get three.

Yankees 8, Tigers 4. Not surprising, not terribly disappointing.

But things like the above happened quite frequently in games 113-162, during which the Tigers went 19-31 and relinquished their stranglehold on first place in the Central Division. One of my regular visitors, Ozz, commented on my Johnny Grubb site that the Tigers we are seeing in the playoffs are the Tigers of games 113 to 162, not the Tigers who went 76-36 and terrorized the American League from April 3 to August 7.

There is very little excitement about this Tigers postseason from yours truly, because it is painly evident that the Tigers are not really a 95 win team. They are, frankly, an 85 win team that sold its soul to the devil for four months. To play .380 ball for nearly a third of a season, as the Tigers did for the final 50 games of the season, is not an anomaly. It's a trend.

The Tigers are grossly overmatched in this series, and even if they had started at home against Oakland, I wouldn't give them a plugged nickel chance of surviving beyond this week. They are a team running on fumes, wheezing to the finish line, and by Friday it will all be over. The season is likely to end with eight consecutive defeats, and those horrid Wild Card t shirts will be sprinkled around the local retail outlets. Reduced price.

It's funny that we kept posting magic numbers around town in September, when the magic had abandoned this team about a month before that.

Maybe this experience will prep the young Tigers for great things in the future. It's all that's left now, with the last rites about to be issued tonight in Game 2.

No comments: