Base hit after base hit after base hit after base hit… The nightmare of the Yankees’s (a.k.a. “Gas-House Gorillas”) 8th inning kept me up all night. Even more unsettling were the repeating images of the two circus catches by former Tigers hero Curtis Granderson that bailed out A.J. Burnett and sent the ALDS back to New York for Game 5* (*now very necessary).
Burnett must’ve had a horseshoe up his ass because he looked like anything but a major league pitcher before Granderson’s heroics. TBS’s Pitch Trax looked more like a Jackson Pollock painting with all the random dots and streaks sprayed erratically over the entire canvas during Burnett’s first inning. The Tigers took advantage and patiently drew three walks while Burnett was working on his abstract design setting the stage for Don Kelly’s rocket shot to deep center. Granderson, who had often remarked that he had trouble with balls hit directly at him at Comerica Park during his time as a Tiger, initially took a step or two in, underestimating Kelly’s power. How Granderson recovered in time to snare a ball that was already over his head and behind him, I’ll never know. Even after watching all the infernally incessant replays, I still don’t understand how it didn’t sail over his glove by at least six inches.
Regardless, the play clearly turned the tide and settled down Burnett who cruised until two outs in the 6th with a 4-1 lead. After giving up a single to Kelly (ironically enough) Burnett was relieved by the world’s highest-paid middle reliever Rafael Soriano who promptly gave up a tailing shot by Jhonny Peralta into the gap in left center. But Granderson was there again to bail out his brethren as he made another ridiculous diving catch to rob Peralta of extra bases, a sure RBI, and stem the tide of yet another Tigers rally.
Despite cosmic occurrences conspiring against him, the Tigers 22-year-old pitcher Rick Porcello did an admirable job keeping things close, giving up four runs on five hits while striking out five. The game was still in some doubt until the Gorillas’ merciless, 38 minute 8th-inning mauling.
But now we turn to Thursday’s Game 5* (*now very necessary) where there seems to be some silly controversy brewing on the blog. My counterpart insists that the Tigers send Justin Verlander out to start on two days rest while I maintain he will be more effective out of the bullpen to pick up where Septermber’s AL Pitcher of the Month Doug Fister (on full rest) leaves off. Regardless, the debate is irrelevant because manager Jim Leyland agrees with my sound logic and has announced Fister is his Game 5 starter.
All bets are off as we head back to the Bronx. PV does make some great points about the Yahkees woes in recent ALDSs so I’m still feeling pretty confident my prediction of Detroit in 5 will prove to be spot on. I’ll certainly be drinking by 10:45 tomorrow night—I just hope it’ll be along with the Tigers in celebration.