Monday, October 15, 2012

Live Blogging Game 2 of the ALCS, Go Tigers!

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By Doctor

After staying up for each of the Tigers postseason games equaling clued to the TV (ballgame), Facebook page (dialogue with fellow Michigander/Tiger fan), and Twitter feed (satirical Tigers fans handles and writers), I decided to pull a page out of the “Sports Guy” Bill Simmons playbook and live blog the Tigers ALCS Game 2 against the Yankees yesterday.

I thought it would be a fun writing exercise (stream of consciousness type thing) instead of continually to post on Twitter. It was difficult than I thought I’d be, part play-by-play, part analyst, while also trying to through in a few zingers and be funny as well.

Of course, I also had to battle numerous thunderstorm fronts that moved through during the game periodically knocking out the satellite reception as well as hunger as the game ran through dinner. Anywho, I digress, here is the result of my first live blogging experience. I hope you enjoy it for the ability to relive yesterday’s Tigers (and Lions) wins and possibly find a joke or satirical analysis funny. Plus more in depth analysis at the end of the post.

We pick things up in the bottom of the first, since I was distracted by the Lions came going into OT and had to remember I was going to do this. OK. And here we go....

10/14/2012 4:26 PM – Delayed in starting my live blog. Sanchez just snagged a comeback to the mound to end the Yankee threat in the bottom of the first. The Lions have the ball at the 2 minute warning trailing 23-20 to the Eagles. Stafford completes to Megatron who throws a defender off him to get into Eagles territory. Screen pass to Leshoure goes for a loss. Lions TO.

4:29 PM – Calvin ruled out of bounds. Don’t know about that one. Under review.

4:30 PM – Your all-time post-season Tigers franchise home run leader, Delmon Young!  Swing and miss. Young strikes out and that damn founded Yankee Stadium whistle goes off in the background.

4:32 PM – Turn back to the Lions game to find a complete signal loss for the Satellite. Back to the Tigers and Dirks strikes out to end the half inning.

4:33 PM – Call overturned. It’s a Johnson catch and a Lions first down. Lions now with a good chance to win with a touchdown instead of settling for a long field goal attempt to tie. A QB draw with Stafford with no TO’s. WTF Lions. Then he almost throws an interception. Pass interference. First and goal one yard line, 13 seconds. Incomplete. 9 seconds remaining. Incomplete to Calvin Johnson. Jason Hanson time.

4:38 PM – The Lions tie the game with a Jason Hanson field goal. If the Lions can somehow avoid giving up a kick off return for a touchdown, we’re going to overtime.

rest after the jump... 

4:40 PM – Cut back to baseball with a shot of A-Rod in the dugout after another failed at bat (strikeout). Followed by Sanchez striking out Granderson.

4:42PM – Lions loss the toss and start OT kicking off to the Eagles. Lions defense steps it up with back to back sacks of Vick by Cliff Avril and Nick Fairly. Lions force a 3 and out and should get good field position. Logan fumbles on the punt return but somehow recovers as it bounces right back into his lap. Lions with the ball at mid-field. A field goal will win it.

4:47PM – Of course a holding penalty to follow a first down pass to Schreffler. A pass to Megatron cures all in. Lions back into Jason Hanson field goal range. Lions can’t gain a first down on two runs (needed three). It’s time for a long field goal attempt to win it. Let it be known that I hate the strategy of settling for long field goal attempts.

4:51PM – Hanson is good from 45 yards! Lions win! That second half comeback may have just salvaged their season.

4:57PM – First beer of the day in celebration of the Lions win and help me survive the high and lows of the Tigers game. Beer of choice: North Peak Hooligan Hoppy Pumpkin Ale. Verdict. Hoppy, but could use a fuller pumpkin flavor. This is the second Michigan pumpkin beer I’ve tried this year (yes, I’m behind). I really enjoyed the Arcadia Ales Jawjacker. I have New Holland Brewing Co.’s Ichabod Ale in the fridge yet to try. The best however, was a friend’s home brewed, pumpkin beer, that I had last night.

5:03PM – Cabrera grounds out to third to end the Tigers in the fourth as well as the always awkward in game dugout interview with Doug Fister. The Tigers are still hitless for the game with 7 strikeouts.

5:07PM – A defensive miscue. These are the Tigers we know as poor communication between Avila and Sanchez allows a catchable foul ball drop. Given new life, Raul Ibanez singles to lead off the Yankees in the fourth.

5:09PM – AVILA throws out Ibanez trying to steal second in an apparent failed hit and run. “Raul me, maybe…later” (nod to @TrippingOlney).

5:13PM – A-Rod strikes out, again. It’s easy and fun to laugh, but Tigers should be conscientious that they are likely headed to the same fate at the end of Prince Fielder’s contract (9 year, $216 million, future DH). For the moment, I am happy to ignore this horrible truth as long as I can watch Prince hit some more dingers. Hey, look who’s up to start the 5th for the Tigers…

5:16PM – Prince flies out to A-Rod for the first out in top 5. Hurray, it’s time for the managerial interview with Joe Girardi who fortunately was not busy doing anything else.

5:18PM – Shot to a “What Would Jeter Do?” sign. Um, hustle. Call Tebow and ask him? Give them a Jeter thanks for staying the night gift basket full of #2 Yankee gear? Cano makes a beautiful play on a Dirks grounder and the Tigers are done in the 5th. Still no base runners for the Tigers as Kuroda will go to the 6th inning with the perfect game intact. I don’t like where this is headed. Really appreciate the effort of Tigers fans on Twitter making everyone aware of the ongoing perfecto in hopes of jinxing it.

5:24PM – Sanchez strikes out Granderson, again. Yes, Granderson hit 42 home runs this year, but he hit .232 and here’s your obligatory reminder that the Tigers turned Granderson into Austin Jackson, Phil Coke (and therefore @PhilCokesBrain), and Max Scherzer. I loved Grandy as a Tigers, but Detroit definitely has come out ahead on the deal.

5:29PM – TBS has picked up a show titled Wedding Band about a group of guys who are in a band and play at weddings. “Very funny.” No, not the show, but that TBS thinks people will watch it.

5:30PM – Johnny Peralta with a base hit. Perfect game no more. Avila grounds out on a fielder’s choice. Peralta safe at second for Omar Infante. Bunt = Fail. Fortunately it’s a failed bunt for Infante who then grounds out. Yankees fans finally show signs of life. Jackson grounds out.

5:41PM – Another defensive miscue by Sanchez and Ichiro is on first with an infield hit to leadoff the 6th inning for the Yankees. Cano up. I have this dreadful feeling that these miscues are going to cost the Tigers dearly at some point in the post-season. Not now though, please.

5:45PM – Infield defense by Tigers is giving me flashbacks of the 2006 World Series as Sanchez softly underhand tosses from the mound to Fielder at first to retire Cano. With Ichiro at first after two ground outs, Tigers will intentionally walk Ibanez. First and third with two outs. Russell Martin up. Great barehanded play by Peralta to get Martin and end the Yankees threat in the 6th. Peralta has played great defense in the postseason for the Tigers this year.

6:05PM – Took a break from my stream of consciousness to make myself a plate of nachos. Tigers score after a Berry double, Miggy single, and a Young fielder’s choice. 1-0 Tigers who are lucky Cano fails to turn the DP and Berry scores. Not a big inning, but the Tigers are on the board.

6:20PM – Nachos hit the spot. Know what else would hit the spot? Sanchez striking out Jayson Nix here stranding Granderson at second.

6:26PM – The third or fourth rainstorm front of the day has moved in and killed the satellite signal again, so I’m stuck going mad wondering what has happened in the baseball game. Twitter tells me that the Tigers are out of the inning. Another tremendous outing by Sanchez as he throws 7 shutout innings. Sanchez is making himself a bunch of money with these two lockdown postseason starts as he approaches free agency. Phil Coke appears ready to take the mound for the Tigers in the 8th with lefties Ichiro and Cano due up.

6:32PM – Damn I have to get out of the boonies. Another signal loss. Wait, we’re back. Two outs. Infante on first. Jackson up.

6:35PM – Base hit. Infante overruns second. The throw. Safe. Girardi out to argue. Replay shows Yankees have a case. Infante was definitely out. Tigers catch another break. Girardi is tossed. Kuroda now done for the day as Yankees go to their bullpen with two on two out in the 8th.

6:39PM – Mini-Miggy with a flair base hit to right field. Infante scores! 2-0 Tigers! Avisail Garcia pitch hits for Berry and delivers again in the postseason. Wow, missed call at second gives Tigers life and they make the Yankees pay with a chance for more. Cabrera is due up with runners on the corners and another Yankees pitching change.

6:45PM – Cabrera drives in Jackson with an opposite field single. 3-0 Tigers. And another Yankees pitching change with Fielder coming up and the Tigers taking advantage of the new life and trying to break this game wide open.

6:52PM – Fielder walks to load the bases for the Tigers all-time leader in postseason home runs. Yes, I’m going to beat that into the ground when speaking of the “’stache” Delmon Young. Young strikes out. I’m Jack’s complete lack of surprise.

7:10PM – Peralta leads off the 9th inning with a single after Phil Coke worked a 1-2-3 8th inning.

7:13PM – Avila grounds out to first, but it advances Peralta to second with Infante up with a chance to extend the Tigers lead. Please do. Please. Please. Please. The lead can’t be too large for the Tigers going into the 9th. Just because Valverde won’t be pitching the 9th doesn’t mean that I have complete faith in Joaquin “Gopher Ball” Benoit. Infante strikes out. Tigers are three outs away from winning Game 2 and having the opportunity to end the series in Detroit.

7:19PM – Phil Coke is back out to start the 9th facing Ibanez. Coke strikes him out. Two outs to go. Yankees boo Ibanez for not hitting 3-run home run with the bases empty.

7:22PM – ONE OUT AWAY! Coke strikes out Russell Martin on three pitches.

7:24PM – A-Rod proves that he isn’t dead with a base hit. And neither are the Yankees. Granderson up, one on, two outs.

7:26PM – SWING AND MISS! COKE STRIKES OUT GRANDERSON! BALL GAME!

7:26PM – Everybody look forward to Game 3 in Detroit. And remember, Tuesday is Justin Verlander Day.

Next day final thoughts:
It’s amazing how things can change in less than 24 hours. After the Valverde meltdown in the 9th inning of Game 1, numerous Tigers fans were on the ledge ready to jump certain that the Tigers World Series hopes were mere Papa Grande pipe dreams. Now here we are on Monday. The Tigers are up 2-0 in the series and headed home to Detroit with Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, and Doug Fister scheduled to pitch at Comerica. Tigers can clinch a trip to the World Series by winning two of three at home.

Yes, the bullpen is a concern, but I think it is only a concern if the Tigers get caught up with the modern day belief that you need that one guy who is the definite closer who always gets the ball with the lead in the 9th inning. Honestly, if the Tigers just choose to ride the hot hand in the bullpen late in games, they can win the six games they need and deliver a World Series title for Mike Illitch and Detroit. Hey, it worked in Games 1 & 2 with Drew Smyly and Phil Coke recording the final outs.

Jim Leyland drives fans nuts at times (most of the time for some), but one thing Leyland does extremely well is stick by his players and maintains his confidence in them. Smyly and Coke rewarded that confidence by getting the job done. You only have 25 guys in that dugout and you often need each and every one of them to come through at some point to win in the postseason - Don Kelly, Danny Worth, Smyly, Coke, and Avisail Garcia have all come through in key situations already and it’s why the Tigers overcame the A’s and are two games up against the Yankees.

I can’t promise you that you won’t cuss at the TV or want to throw something yet this postseason because of a Leyland decision or poor performance by a Tiger player (star or role player), but being this emotionally involved this far along in the postseason sure beats not being one of the four teams still alive with a chance to win the World Series. Go Tigers!

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