Blog Entry

Anatomy of a loss: How Detroit fell in ALCS

Posted on: October 15, 2011 11:41 pm
Edited on: October 16, 2011 2:06 am
Cabrera, Napoli

AnatomyBy Evan Brunell

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Tigers had a massive implosion by Max Scherzer ruin Game 6, and as a result, their season is over as the Rangers advance to the World Series.

Let's take a look at the anatomy of the Tigers' series loss...

1. HEAD: Throughout the series, Detroit talked about taking it one game at a time, battling back from adversity, doing what it could to win each and every contest and not worrying about the past. All that is great, but actions speak louder than words, and the Tigers were horribly demoralized after Game 4's shocking extra-inning loss. In fact, after every loss, malaise filled the Tigers' clubhouse, and how could it not? The team gave its all and every game save the last was close. Every Tiger loss outside of Game 6 came either by a single run, or in extra innings. It was the narrowest of margins ... but they were losses all the same. That wears on you, and even winning Game 5 couldn't wash away all the stink once the series shifted back to Texas.

2. ARM: The Tigers couldn't ride their starting pitching to the promised land, despite entering the series with arguably three aces. Of course, there's Verlander fronting the rotation, but he didn't pitch like an ace in the ALCS. His start in Game 1 was cut short by rain, but by his own admission, his mechanics weren't quite right to start the game, and he ended up giving up three runs in four innings. People like to follow the narrative of Verlander as a great pitcher, but he still coughed up four runs total in 7 1/3 innings in Game 5. As for the other starting pitchers, Max Scherzer was fantastic in Game 2, but gave up a run in the seventh to allow the Rangers to tie, and eventually win, the game... and then, of course, he completely fell apart in Game 6. Doug Fister pitched brilliantly in Game 3, Detroit's first victory. In Game 4, Rick Porcello also turned in an incredible effort, but imploded at the wrong time. Even the bullpen was lacking aside from the heroics of Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde, and Valverde got burned in Game 4.

3. OBLIQUE: The Tigers had two instances of obliques hurting the team. First, Delmon Young was left off the ALCS roster entirely due to suffering an injured oblique in ALDS Game 5 against the Yankees. However, the Tigers lucked into Young improving to the point he was able to replace Magglio Ordonez on the roster when Ordonez needed to be removed due to a fractured ankle. Young played in Games 2, 4 and 5, but racked up a 0-for-9 streak, the most at-bats of any player in the series without a hit. He snapped that distinction with two pivotal homers in Game 5, but it proved to be too late for Detroit to win out in the series.

In addition, Victor Martinez hammered a crucial home run in Game 3 to pace the Tigers to victory, but pulled his oblique in the process. The next at-bat, he didn't even offer at one pitch or take swings in the on-deck circle, so you knew he was hurting. He looked stiff and sore in Game 4, so the Tigers lost two of their most important offensive pieces thanks to the oblique injury, which has ravaged baseball all season.

ALCS Coverage
4. LEGS: At this point, I feel guilty for bringing this up for what is probably the billionth time, but I'm still incredulous at the decisions that the Tigers made in Game 4 with regard to baserunning. There are two particular situations that got me. The first was in the bottom eighth after the Rangers tied the game. Miguel Cabrera is on third base with one out. Delmon Young lofts a fly ball to right field, inhabited by Nelson Cruz who is a fine fielder with a rifle for an arm. Cabrera was sent home and was out by a mile. After the game, Jim Leyland said that if the throw was off-line, Cabrera scores. That's a cop-out -- that throw would have had to be incredibly off-line to the point where anyone could have scored. Even a five-hopper would have been enough to tag Cabrera out. It was a dumb move. Period.

In the bottom of the 10th, Austin Jackson stood on first base with one out. Improbably, he opted to steal second base and was gunned down by Mike Napoli. Leyland said he supported the decision -- which Jackson made on his own -- but he better just be covering for his player because that was another bone-headed move. With the throw out, the Tigers removed a man on base and the chance for Miguel Cabrera to hit that inning. Instead, Miggy watched as Ryan Raburn made the third out, then the Rangers put up a four-spot in the top of the 11th.

5. FOOT: Losing Magglio Ordonez was a brutal blow for Detroit, when he re-fractured his surgically-repaired foot in Game 1. Already hobbled due to Young's injury, losing Ordonez severely depleted the Tigers' offense to the point where it was, frankly, a non-entity aside from Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez in the 3-4 spots. There's no telling what Ordonez could have done after hitting .365 after Aug. 12 in the regular season and .455 in the ALDS.

Related video: Tigers manager Jim Leyland speaks on the crushing Game 6 loss:

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Base photo: Wikipedia


Since: Jul 3, 2007
Posted on: October 16, 2011 5:06 pm

Anatomy of a loss: How Detroit fell in ALCS

So Zacary lemme see if I understand...the Rangers won the series due to unfavorable umpiring and a rainout? Yet you still want them to not run the score up? You can't have it both ways...if the Tigers were the better team like you said, Texas certainly can't take the chance of letting them come back and win. You sound emotional and sloppy in your assessment of what happened in this series, and how baseball games should be played. To me you are not a baseball fan. You are an example a fan  with no sportsmanship and NO respect for the opposition whatsoever. So there's my peace. lol.

ps: if you knew anything about these two teams you would know they have tremendous respect for one another

Since: Feb 27, 2011
Posted on: October 16, 2011 9:34 am

Anatomy of a loss: How Detroit fell in ALCS

I admit the two calls in the big rangers inning (Cruz non strike out on check swing and Murphy non out at second) were really bad.  But I think the Rangers still score enough to win the game.  As for running up the score - NO WAY NO HOW.  It's what Whitey Herzog said once - "Well we can stop stealing if you stop trying to score runs".  So Zacary, please stop making emotional statements re. Ron Washington and TX.  The Rangers are a class team that played strong in all phases - they were the better team plain and simple. 

Since: Aug 20, 2007
Posted on: October 16, 2011 3:51 am

Anatomy of a loss: How Detroit fell in ALCS

Zacary - No lead is ever safe in a baseball game. As long as the Tigers were still trying to win, the Rangers were going to keep trying to score more runs. I didn't notice Leyland waving the white flag and clearing his bench at any time in the game. By the way, in case you hadn't noticed, Holland was not having a great game. Washington was smart to pull him, with 2 great long relievers in the pen and 3 days of rest upcoming. So, get bent, crybaby.

Since: Apr 16, 2010
Posted on: October 16, 2011 3:15 am

Anatomy of a loss: How Detroit fell in ALCS

Sore loser, you are the epitomy of poor sportsmanship with your comments. If any team has been given bad calls, it has been the Rangers. Check the strike zone calls in the ALDS and the ALCS. Just admit you are an idiot and don't have the first clue about baseball. Find another site to look like a moron on, because you have worn out your welcome here. Jim Leyland is a true character guy , maybe you should take lessons from that guy? Jack???

Since: Oct 16, 2011
Posted on: October 16, 2011 1:34 am

Anatomy of a loss: How Detroit fell in ALCS

I just have to say... way to go tigers, Great season and Great post-season, in my mind you won that series after game five.  Thanks to some of the shoddiest umpiring I've ever seen in a baseball game, and the first game rainout that sidelined baseball's best pitcher which cost us a game one lead in the series, the game will never remember it the way i see it.  I just also have to say that I will never again be rooting for the Rangers as long as Ron Washington is managing them even if they are playing the Phillies who are my most hated team.  He should be ashamed of himself for running up the score on a proud baseball team.  You just go to the bullpen after you hang a nine run inning on the board.  His starter gave up four runs in the game, you don't take him out in just the fourth inning when he has a five run lead.  And you most certainly don't steal bases when youre up by seven runs either.  To me this was not a baseball game.  This was an example of a game with no sportsmanship and most certainly NO respect for the opposition whatsoever...So there I've said my peace.Fuck Ron Washington, Fuck Texas!Congrats Tigers on the fine season!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Since: Sep 12, 2011
Posted on: October 16, 2011 12:23 am

Anatomy of a loss: How Detroit fell in ALCS

To sum it up injuries got the best of the Tigers. But the Rangers had more energy and really put up a good series. If they keep that up they might be the Giants of this year.

Since: Aug 31, 2011
Posted on: October 16, 2011 12:06 am

Anatomy of a loss: How Detroit fell in ALCS

Great season Tigers...just didn't have the best series.  Lots of things to build on for next year.

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