That was one dubious equation that the A's created tonight. And the funny thing was that after the A's beat the Twins all the experts could say over and over again was that the A's are a team that plays the game the right way. If that's the right way, I don't wanna be right.
Tonight was essentially George Costanza's opposite day. At least on the defensive front. And it wasn't just the Jimenez error, although that was huge. Swisher not getting an out on the Granderson play. Chavez missing a ball that he vaccuumed up during the regular season. It just wasn't the A's on the defensive side.
As for the GIDP thing and the lack of hitting with RISP, well, that is a tendency of our lovable muppets. And if the A's are to advance, that's something that they're going to overcome with great pitching and defense. Tonight, the pitching and defense couldn't bail them out.
Yes, the umpiring was horrid. I found the non-strikeout call on Polanco to be the worst offense of the night. But our boys lost this game tonight. If that's Zito's last appearance in an A's uniform, then that's a sad way to go out. I was surprised that the Tigers were able to go against their stats and have a very patient approach against Zito. They looked more like Yankee hitters than Tiger hitters and for that they deserve kudos. I think the Twins could've done the same thing and had success against Barry because to me, the majority of Zito's pitches were also out of the zone. The difference was that the Tigers gave the ump a chance to call them balls. When you throw 92 pitches and only 49 are strikes, you aren't going to win many games.
The A's set a couple of ignominious records tonight with the most double plays in a nine-inning game in an ALCS game and missing success with RISP, going 0-13.
The way I'm trying to approach this series (my wife would argue unsuccessfully considering how I was yelling at the TV) is that this has been a successful season and I need to be happy with whatever happens. But the truth is that it's really hard to get this close to a World Championship and not have every play make you go crazy.
Still, 0-1 isn't the end of the world. Although the Tigers have probably their most talented starting pitcher going tomorrow against a guy who most A's fans still think is going to fall apart like a house of straw any moment now. The one thing that could be the difference in this series...if the Tigers remain that patient and approach every game that way, this could be a quick series. Although the Sean Casey injury could have a big impact on their offense.
As for the A's RISP problem, I expect it to change if the A's continue to get guys on base, but the truth is that it probably won't since it hasn't all year. They are also facing a great pitcher each and every night now in the playoffs, so it could continue to be tough sledding.
The Tigers lost the first game last series and then went on to win three straight. Let's turn the tables this time.