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Home » Baseball

League Championship Serieseses 2012: When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers

Submitted by on October 13, 2012 – 2:30 PM44 Comments

Detroit vs. New York; St. Louis vs. San Francisco. Not really the results I expected, and I’m not sure how to call these series…I think it’s probably Detroit and St. Louis in the Classic, but then, I bet a straight Oakland/Washington line in my postseason pool, so whatever I say, assume the opposite will happen.

Whatever happens, there’s still baseball, and the ALCS starts tonight. Discuss away!




  • meredithea says:

    I don’t really have a dog in this hunt. I wanted the Rangers to go again, then the Orioles since they knocked out the Rangers (I always want to say “we were beaten by the best!”). Now I’m rooting for Not the Yankees, and I’d be happy to see any of the other three teams win. This is not to say I won’t watch all the games, because I will! Go baseball!

  • Sarah says:

    One of these days baseball will have replay. And it will be glorious. Until then we have twitter and the internet.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Valverde wants me dead. He wants us all dead.

  • Suzanne says:

    Oh dear, if it’s Detroit/St. Louise all of my 2006 angst will bubble back to the surface! Detroit was robbed – ROBBED, I tell you!

    Perhaps I should start the deep breathing exercises right now. This game … I mean: damn. Glad the Tigers battled back from a meltdown, but I’m really sorry that Jeter broke his ankle. One wants to see strategy and good luck – not the bad luck that sidelines someone with such a wince-inducing injury.

  • Suzanne says:

    and that “Louise,” um, is “Louis.” Yep, 1:30 in the morning. Sorry!

  • Kristen B says:

    “Valverde wants me dead. He wants us all dead.” SERIOUSLY. Had to stop watching the game after the 9th inning I was so mad. How do you blow a lead in the 9th inning with 2 outs and an 0-2 count? HOW!?!? Oh well. At least the Tigers were able to rally. And agree that Jeter breaking his ankle is a bad thing, and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

  • Sarah says:

    So the umpiring has been terrible all postseason long. It’s going to cost one team in the World Series, you can just about guarantee it at this point.

  • Dukebdc says:

    From KristenB:
    “How do you blow a lead in the 9th inning with 2 outs and an 0-2 count? HOW!?!? ”

    Uh, see ‘Storen, Drew’ from the Nationals epic 9th inning disaster Friday night for further reference beyond Valverde. Though I STILL don’t know why Davey Johnson didn’t take Storen out as soon as the game was tied. I guess he didn’t trust Clippard?

  • Maren says:

    As someone who’s watched 95% of the Giants’ games this year, including this last week of nutso NLDS games, I can tell you if they get through this round it’s going to be due to some really really unexpected people doing incredible things, like “let’s let the set-up guy pitch Game 6!” or “the guy with a .215 average has hit three homers!” because none of the usually reliably good players are doing what they’re supposed to, for the most part. Also we have the most expensive middle reliever in baseball at the moment, heh.

    “Let’s get weird” has basically turned into a Chinese blessing in San Francisco.

  • Alyce says:

    What Maren said. Glad we’re in it, but astounded, too.

    The Jeter thing is sad because Detroit will get no credit for moving on.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    Detroit will get credit from me. They’re hitting; the Yankees aren’t. (I WILL assign some blame to the Jeter injury because he was hitting okay, but now it’s just Ibanez carrying the load.) Detroit pitching is lights-out so far; Yankee pitching hasn’t been. I mean, Hughes/Verlander tonight, on the road? I almost don’t want to watch.

  • Sarah says:

    Yankees pitching hasn’t been the problem, it’s all on the offense (well and two runs on Jeff Nelson for Sunday).

    Hughes v. Verlander sounds like a terrible mismatch, but strange things do happen in baseball.

  • attica says:

    One of the things that I really dislike about Fox’s baseball ‘casts (and lo, there are mulititudes) is the wretched, godawful sound mixing. Some crowd members sound like they’re in the booth, the overall crowd noise drowns out the commentary, what’s soft should be loud, what’s loud should be soft. I don’t get it. Even if I’m having a Tim-is-tolerable day, I still gotta turn off the sound to be able to enjoy the game, which….isn’t why you watch baseball on tv!

    I am therefore happy that the ALCS is still on TBS.

    Watching the Yankees refuse to hit a pitched ball increasingly brings to mind the lyric of an old Jim Croce song (“Car Wash Blues”): Well, I just got out/of the county prison/doing 90 days for non-support. I’m starting to think there should be jail time for these guys, is my point.

    Poor Jeter’s ankle couldn’t bear the weight of the entire freaking team, apparently. Yeesh.

  • FloridaErin says:

    There’s been a general unrest among Tigers fans that they’re not getting the credit they deserve in the Yankees series, mostly because the national media is so hooked on this whole “the Yankees aren’t playing well” story and not on the whole “Detroit pitching is insane” aspect. TBS’ God-awful coverage is not helping matters, frankly.

    My fear tonight is that spastic, amped up Verlander will show up tonight, but he hasn’t so far this post season, so I have my fingers crossed!

  • Tylia says:

    “Some crowd members sound like they’re in the booth, the overall crowd noise drowns out the commentary, what’s soft should be loud, what’s loud should be soft.”

    Attica, anything that drowns out Buck’s droning and McCarver’s obvious platitudes, I’m all for. In other Words: Shut Up McCarver to infinity!

    “One of these days baseball will have replay. And it will be glorious. Until then we have twitter and the internet.”

    Seriously. I was forbidden to go on Twitter last night, but i wanted to take to it a thousand times during the Giants STC game because the Umpire behind the plate had the most inconsistent strike zone of ever. Replay! The fans demand it! Period!

  • Sarah says:

    The strike zones have been downright hilarious this postseason, but that’s typical. Honestly, I wish MLB would at least have some standards for balls and strikes. Like, having the same strike zone for both pitchers? So aggravating to look at those post-game Pitch F/x plots and see that one pitcher was getting balls way outside the zone called strikes, and the other one is getting them as balls.

    And then there are the calls on the field. Every game has had a blown call it seems, not including the hilarious strike zones. I seriously would not be surprised to see a blown call decide Game 7 of the World Series at this point.

  • RickyP says:

    I’m a National Leaguer all the way (price of growing up in St. Louis), but hell, can’t turn down the chance to watch a ballgame, especially a postseason one.

    A co-worker and I, who’s a huge Yankees fan that I love to talk baseball with, watched the game tonight, and he was all but screaming at the screen when they were up there letting Verlander get away with 9 pitch innings. No contact, even when they were ahead in the count. Now, I admit that I don’t watch the Yankees, but even I was surprised at the way they were hacking away up there, when Verlander couldn’t throw a strike off the plate. He was grooving that ball, admittedly in the 90s, and there was no adjustment on the part of the hitters, even after you guys got a nice performance from your pitchers.

    So, Yankees fans, educate me; what is the deal? This isn’t a troll, I’m deadly serious. Are these guys so set in their ways that they wouldn’t adjust against a Verlander that didn’t REALLY have his best stuff, despite what the media will no doubt anoint as another lights-out performance from Justin? Didn’t Girardi beg his hitters, in public, to make adjustments in their swings? What exactly is the culture that allows this, or is it just some bad luck? I keep hearing the media in New York is a bitch to be around, but the players don’t seem to care?

    I’d ask this question on ESPN, but honestly, I’d immediately be besieged by YANKEESSUCK posters, and the conversation seems more civilized here.

  • Elizabeth says:

    FloridaErin: Yeah, watching this calm and collected version of Verlander makes me miss Kenny Rogers and his conversations with the moon.

    So that bullpen management, that was… what was that? I know you can’t afford to give up even one run against Verlander, but that run being given, maybe don’t pull your pitchers for throwing two balls in a row? Oh, but hey, put that sidearmer in there, he’ll fix everything.

    As a former Kalamazoo resident, I have to say that Derek Jeter is a fabulous human being who does lots of great work for his hometown, both publicly and (I strongly suspect) anonymously, and I hope he comes back just fine next season. If I said I was sorry he’s out of this series I’d be lying, but I wish it weren’t so serious.

    I also wish that I’m reading the signs wrong and we aren’t about to have a national conversation about cortisone use, because we didn’t already know that playing hurt makes both the injury and your game worse, and cortisone is a steroid so now it’s A Thing? Maybe? I know you don’t want to let down the side, guys, but your VORP goes way down when you’re hurt. You can’t help it. Just stay home and let it heal good and proper so it doesn’t get busted up worse.

    Not that a player could actually do this, because he’d be trying to relax with his foot up and all he’d hear through the windows would be GOD DAMN PRIMA DONNA SUCK IT UP AND RUB SOME DIRT ON IT from the same fans who’d be bitching about his lackluster performance were he on the field, so you can’t win, but clearly we need to ban dirt from the playing surface because it encourages dismissal of injuries.

  • Kim says:

    @ RickyP

    I’m a long time Yankee fan and I can tell you it’s been this way for the past few years. Get to the postseason and the bats go completely silent. I don’t know if it’s not making adjustments, the pressure of HAVING to win a World Series in NY or just not caring. I really don’t. And it’s frustrating as hell.

    But this season the lack of hitting in the post season isn’t a surprise. We knew all season that this team can NOT hit with RISP. Their batting average with bases loaded this season was atrocious. It got to the point where I wondered if opposing pitchers were walking the bases loaded on purpose because there was no way someone would get a hit, not even a fly ball, to score a run.

    I’ve been a fan of this team since I could sit up and pay attention to the game, but this current version is making me want to change teams. When the supposed best player on your team, Cano, can’t run out a slow ground ball, that isn’t a team that I care to pay too much attention to.

  • attica says:

    I got home early last night, and decided to begin my evening’s entertainment by pulling the Ken Burns “Death and the Civil War” from my dvr. When the carnage in that program proved insufficient, I turned over to the baseball game.


    Oh, Yankees, just lose and get it over with.

    I know I’ve said this before, but Jim Leyland is really awesome. I wish he was my uncle, so I could invite him to Thanksgiving. There’s no way he wouldn’t liven up the passing of the mashed potatoes.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    Nobody on my couch breathed during that Ibanez at-bat last night. (Except Mabel.)

  • Sarah says:

    @RickyP Two things from last night.

    No offense to The Great Verlander, but he gets his own strike zone against LHH. 5, 6, 8 inches off the plate is a strike, and it changes the entire at bat. See here for the plot. That’s from the catcher/umpire perspective, and the red squares are strikes called for Verlander. It happened last year too. I cannot imagine how frustrating it must be for the hitters to go up and get strikes called on those pitches.

    Otherwise, I have to think some of the big bats are hurt, and combine that with a Cano slump, you have a recipe for disaster. Last year the Yankees were hitting but had no pitching (they ran Freddy Garcia and AJ Burnett out in the ALDS). This year, gotta think Tex is still hurt (where is the power?), and ARod must be hurt (hip, knee injuries have already sapped some of that power, and the broken hand didn’t help, but he wasn’t this bad all season). That leaves Cano, who had an ill timed slump, and Ibanez, who doesn’t hit LHP but Joe left him in, because what were the alternatives?

    Part of me wants the Yankees to lose tonight to just end it, and the other part of me wants a big win, so I can see Andy Pettitte pitch again. Because nothing makes me happier than Andy Pettitte Day.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Is A-Rod playing tonight, anyone know? My usual sporting news sources, all being East Coast homers, have started pretending that baseball is over for the year. So, how about that NHL lockout, guys?

    Definitely agree with everyone else about the distressing absence of Detroit from the series narrative. Yanks fans are (naturally) most concerned with how the team is beating itself, and what that means for the future; people who hate the Yankees are wrapped up in feel-good narratives about the price of hubris and the wrath of the baseball gods; Detroit’s just around because there have to be two teams, and any old team would do at this point. It’d be more cinematic if we were scrappy and cash-strapped instead of pricey and elite, but we’re not, so we don’t even get the underdog media treatment.

    We just get to win. Oh darn.

  • FloridaErin says:

    I think Verlander at least deserves some of the credit for holding the Yankees to, you know, 3 hits and no walks. I know the Yankees are in a bad way right now, but just because he didn’t strike out everyone doesn’t mean he wasn’t executing at all. I think the Yankees hitters are older and honestly tired at this point in the season and that has to be frustrating, I’ll give you that.

    What the heck is with this dry rain delay, by the way? This might be the most annoying of all delays, especially since it looks like postponement is inevitable.

  • attica says:

    The rescheduled ALCS game is on this afternoon, which means I’ll be able to fast-forward through my recording when I get home from work. Distress minimizing technology, I love you!

    The only debate I have now is whether or not to check the score during my commute. Is ignorance bliss, or will spoiling myself save myself? Such philosophical conundrums on a Thursday.

  • Sarah says:

    @FloridaErin, I agree that Verlander was executing. The strike zone made it easier, but not every pitcher takes advantage of opportunities like that, and he did, and he deserves credit for that.

    I disagree about the players being old, since the old guys not named Ibanez didn’t play – ARod on the bench, Jeter hurt. Tex isn’t old (32), Ichiro (ok he is old) is the same as ever, Cano isn’t even 30. So can’t really blame age. It’s just a cold streak, it happens. It could end today (or tomorrow, if today’s game is rained out again). This team scored the second most runs in MLB, and hit the most home runs in MLB by a mile, hard to see how age is hurting them. That’s a popular narrative though.

  • FloridaErin says:

    @Sarah- Sorry, I didn’t even really think about the fact that the older players (with exception of Ichiro) were out yesterday. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they get hot today, espcially since Scherzer’s drop in velocity since the injury has been troubling. He’s going to need to locate his pitches pretty precisely.

    And, believe me, if any fans understand offensive cold streaks, Tigers fans do. I mean, it isn’t like they’re putting up unbeatable run totals, and now . . . CC.

  • Sarah says:

    @FloridaErin, it’s almost like the AL and NL switched places this playoffs, right? The NL games have more runs scoring, more hits generally, and the AL is suddenly all pitching and the occasional home run. It’s weird.

  • FloridaErin says:

    You guys, can you believe how much people are talking about Phil Coke? PHIL COKE.

  • FloridaErin says:


    Also, again, PHIL FREAKING COKE. WHAT.

  • Sarah says:

    I am more stunned that Delmon Young was the MVP. Delmon. Young. Well, congrats @FloridaErin. I wish you no luck though, sorry.

    Also the Cardinals have some sort of voodoo magic going on the last two years.

  • Suzanne says:

    ajfl;djsakfl;djsakl MY PRECIOUS TIGERS.

    … that is all. Except: I may be sniffling right now. And I kinda demolished a ginormous plate of nachos with a friend, watching the game at a classy-ish pub, in front of the horrified eyes of a bejeweled concertgoer. Whoooooops!

  • FloridaErin says:

    @Sarah No worries!

    Delmon Young would not have been my first choice, either, but that’s because mostly because he’s Delmon Young and I deeply dislike him as a human being. And, honestly, I think you could have made a case for a few other players, but I guess breaking post-season franchise records speaks.

  • Courtney says:

    I have to chime in on Delmon Young. I was driving home listening to the after-game presentation and when they announced the MVP as a class-act, all-around good person, I thought…Justin’s pretty classy. And then they announced Delmon and I about ran off the road laughing. That’s Delmon: classy.

  • Sarah says:

    @FloridaErin and @Courtney I think anyone with a brain dislikes Delmon Young as a human being. Classy is not the word one uses to describe an individual who assaulted another individual and used a racial epithet in the process.

    I mean, as a player, clearly Delmon was the offense before yesterday’s game, and I don’t really know who else they would have chosen but maybe Coke or Peralta? Regardless, it was funny. I also expect someone to overpay him next year and as long as it isn’t a team I root for, I will find that funny.

  • Abigail says:

    I’m sorry, is there a misconception that MVP is based on something other than performance on the field? Oh well, the sour grapes smell sweet to me. Go Tigers!

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    …Dang, St. Louis. What happened? I mean, I don’t have a dog in this hunt, so congrats to SF for hanging in (I…assume; it’s the bottom of the 8th right now), but the wheels kind of fell off the Redbird machine, no?

  • Grace says:

    Yay for the Giants! I don’t know why the Cardinals had a full meltdown tonight, but it’s been a wild series. As I type this, its the top of the 9th, and SF is trying to close this out in the pouring rain

  • Sarah says:

    I am still a little stunned that the Cardinals didn’t win this series (but happy for my Giants!)

    Also, are we really going to get a Zito-Verlander matchup in Game 1? I…don’t know what to think about that. Well, I think I’d rather Bumgarner get the start. But crazy things have happened this postseason.

  • Courtney says:

    @Abigail…no sour grapes here. I was at Comerica in July and have been kicking the kids off the tv so I can watch the series in peace. But even in the D, I don’t get the impression that people are big fans of Delmon Young. You’d think they’d be selling his story as a redemption arc and I haven’t heard any of that, either. I’ll be interested to see what happens to him next year.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    @Sarah, Hardball Talk just tweeted that Zito’s likely to get the start. Seems like Verlander’s definitely set.

  • Zipper says:

    Congrats to the Giants on an excellent LCS. I cannot say much in defense of the Cardinals right this moment, I’m still trying to process the ugly meltdown.

  • FloridaErin says:

    I think the words “Oh, Cardinals” came out of my mouth once an inning during game 7. I mean . . . wow. It was like watching the last Tigers/Rangers game from last postseason all over again, only with much less swearing and throwing things on my part.

    Tigers vs. Giants was so NOT the match-up I envisioned two months ago. Baseball is weird, and since it involves my Tigers, I am totally okay with being wrong.

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