Friday, October 22, 2010

Welcome Back Brandon and Postseason Thoughts

The big news coming out of Detroit yesterday was that the Tigers have re-signed Brandon Inge to a two-year, $11.5 million deal with an option for 2013. You guys should know me well enough by now to know that I am thrilled that I’ll be able to see Brandon Inge in the Olde English D for at least two more years. With the payroll flexibility that the Tigers have right now, it’s a reasonable contract. During the press conference, Dave Dombrowski really didn’t drop any new hints regarding offseason moves. He talked about the infield as a whole, and he seemed to imply that their next step is reaching an agreement with Jhonny Peralta. He also reiterated that at this point they are committed to having either Will Rhymes or Scott Sizemore (or possibly Carlos Guillen) at second base. And so I now know that three of my Top Five are safe. Now it’s time to continue fretting about the remaining two.

I’ve been keeping myself busy by watching the postseason. Currently, both the ALCS and the NLCS see the teams I’m rooting for up three games to two. However, I keep thinking of 2007, when a bunch of Indians fans in my Spanish class were bragging that their parents were buying them World Series tickets. A few days later, I walked into class to find them all sitting there looking shell-shocked. Of course, that was the Boston Red Sox, a team that can bring itself back from the brink like no other (they came back from a 3-1 deficit in 1986 and 2007, almost did that again in 2008, and came back from a 3-0 deficit in 2004). They’re annoying like that. I still feel like the Rangers have a good chance of advancing to the World Series, although it may take a Game 7 for them to do it. Cliff Lee is a pretty good equalizer. The Giants, on the other hand, may well have blown their chance when they didn’t seal the deal last night. They are stuck going back to Philadelphia, which is, in the words of Rod Allen, “a very hostile environment.” There are some ballparks where the fans just seem to be in attack mode moreso than others. Citizens Bank Park is one of those ballparks. Other examples are Fenway Park, U.S. Cellular Field, and Target Field to some extent (Of course, these are all just observations I have made watching them on TV; I have never been to any of these ballparks). I don’t sense this as much at Comerica Park. Tiger fans seem content with cheering for their own team (I have been told that Yankee Stadium is largely the same). Anyways, the Giants certainly have the starting pitching to pull it off, but their bullpen has been shaky and their offense isn’t very potent. Cody Ross has been red-hot and a good story. However, I watched a lot of him with the Marlins and I like him, but he is a streaky hitter. He could go cold at any time and if he does, someone else is going to have to heat up or the Giants won’t stand a chance. But in that series, I really think that the momentum has completely shifted to the Phillies and I can’t see how they won’t manage to pull off the comeback, which is unfortunate because I am tired of the Phillies winning all the time. Also, I am so glad that Carlos Ruiz does not play in the American League, because if he did, I guarantee you that he would be a Tiger killer extraordinaire.

Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to talk to the Baseball Guru about several things (to review, he’s a former catcher, he’s a Yankees fan, he’s very old school, and he’s totally computer illiterate or I would definitely get him his own blog). This was during Game 2 of the ALCS and at the time, he seemed to honestly believe that the Rangers were the better team. We discussed the Rangers’ Game 1 bullpen meltdown, and he maintained that you’re never going to see something like that again. He agreed with every move that Ron Washington made in that inning (in terms of them being what he would do if he managed the Rangers, not in terms of them giving the Yankees an advantage). I get the feeling that he thinks Sabathia is overrated, but at the same time he thinks he’s a strong Cy Young candidate because of his win total (I know that’s gonna annoy some of you, but as I said, he’s old school; he keeps bringing up the fact that the one year that Nolan Ryan led the league in ERA, he had a losing record, and he still thinks that Felix Hernandez or Justin Verlander should have won the Cy Young last year and not Zack Greinke; with that in mind, I didn’t even bother bringing up King Felix as a candidate this year). He’s torn between Miguel Cabrera and Robinson Cano as his preference for MVP (because he honestly believes the Yankees would not have made the postseason without Cano because many of their other key hitters had down years), but his prediction is that Cano will win it because voters won’t like that Cabrera was not on a playoff team and Josh Hamilton missed the final month of the season. However, his pick for Rookie of the Year is Austin Jackson because he’s an everyday player and Neftali Feliz is a relief pitcher. On the NLCS, he picks the Phillies because of their pitching and their offense is built like an American League team (actually, with the Rays having been eliminated, I think he’s picking the Phillies to win it all).

One final note: This is nothing more than a glorified popularity contest, but if you’re interested, has posted the nominees for the 2010 This Year in Baseball Awards. Three Tigers are up for awards. Miguel Cabrera is up for Hitter of the Year, Austin Jackson is up for Rookie of the Year, and Armando Galarraga is up for Performance of the Year. Go vote, if you have a chance.

No comments:

Post a Comment