Sweaty Men Endeavors

The sports blog with the slightly gay name

Thursday, October 12, 2006

It's starting to take on that look...

I often cringe whenever the words "team of destiny" are strung together in a sentence, but I'd be lying if I said that particular phrase didn't run through my brain a couple of times last night (as well as throughout this entire season). When the Tigers' shining star in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series is Alexis Gomez - a guy who kept the pavement warm on I-75 between Toledo and Detroit all summer - it's becoming pretty clear that things are going their way.

Last night's batting order - with Gomez and Neifi Perez (batting 2nd!) on the field - could almost have been mistaken for one of those Sunday lineups where regulars get their one day of the week off. But Gomez certainly made Jim Leyland look like a super-genius for matching his left-handed bat against Esteban Loaiza. He put up the numbers you would've expected from one of the usual big boppers in the lineup, like Magglio Ordonez or Craig Monroe. Four RBIs? A two-run homer crushed down the right-field power alley in Oakland's canyon of a ballpark? (The "Anti-Virus Coliseum," as Mike McClary - who was in attendance last night, by the way - calls it.)

And how about Gomez calmly circling around the bases, like he's done this sort of thing before? This wasn't Mickey Hatcher in 1988, running at full speed with his arms raised up and waving around like a madman. Or even Milton Bradley, who blazed around the bases like he wanted to step right back up to the plate. Cool exterior aside, Gomez may have been savoring this one. Who the hell could fault him for that?

I have to agree with A's bloggers who point out (as linked to by Billfer) that Oakland's played well enough (or at least hit well enough) in both games to still be considered a factor in this series. (And it was scary as hell - sphincter-puckering frightening - to see Frank Thomas facing Todd Jones with the bases loaded in the 9th. So was that pitch from Jones that Thomas just missed.) Of course, we're still talking about a team down 2-0 and set to play the next two to three games in Detroit. If the Tigers were in that position, how would you be feeling about their chances?

A few quickies:

▪▪ I don't understand Oakland's rotation in this series. Someone explain to me why the A's are holding Dan Haren back until Game 4. I know Rich Harden can be great - if healthy - (and some putz picked him to win the AL Cy Young this season) but the ALCS could pivot on tomorrow's game. Why wouldn't you send out the guy who's been at least your second-best pitcher?

▪▪ Has any player (on a good team) in recent memory been more reviled by Detroit fans than Neifi Perez?

▪▪ Does any manager seem more invisible than Ken Macha? (Especially in comparison to Leyland, who seems to be working everything. But maybe that's TV coverage for you.)

▪▪ Do you wish either the Tigers or A's had a junkball/knuckleball pitcher, just to see if FOX's radar gun would clock them at 95 mph too?

▪▪ I'm not usually one to hope for such things, but I'm really hoping the Tigers draw my name for tickets this weekend. With the weather forecast, watching at home might be more comfortable, but I really want to be at Comerica Park now - especially after missing out on the Yankees series.

▪▪ Is anyone selling Magglio-esque wigs by the ballpark? If I attend a game, I might be sporting some fake curly locks. Think about it, Detroit - this could be the new 'fro.

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  • At October 12, 2006 9:03 PM, Blogger Greg Eno said…


    "a guy who kept the pavement warm on I-75 between Toledo and Detroit all summer."

    Beautiful. Wish I had written that!



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