He who does not hope to win has already lost. - Jose Joaquin Olmedo
We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
Yes, that's where my head is this morning. Despite losing last night and facing a monumental task, I woke up this morning with a glimmer in my eye and a spring in my step. Perhaps that makes me a fool, but if that's my title, I'll proudly Wear it.
But why, Blez, why are you hopeful, you ask? For a few key reasons. First, I believe the A's two most gifted pitchers have yet to throw a pitch in this series. Rich Harden and Danny Haren. Both of them have deadly splitters that can make teams that are aggressive look silly. I know they're both wild cards, Harden because of his injuries and Haren because he's prone to giving up a lot of long balls. But I feel really good about the A's chances of taking two in Detroit despite the fact that it's going to a raucous environment. Especially with a Zito looking for redemption in Game 5.
Another reason to be optimistic is that for all the talk of the live arms of the Detroit staff, some of the A's hitters, namely Bradley and Kotsay, haven't appeared intimidated at all. 100 mph? No problem, I'll just use your power to whack double into the corner. 103? Pffffft, that's going yard, dude. The A's have also shown an ability to work the Tigers starting pitchers. And they've also come perilously close to scoring a lot of runs off of Jones.
Which brings me to my next reason...Frank Thomas will not remain silent forever. To me, you can point to a couple of determining factors in last night's game. Thomas' o-fer and Loaiza's struggles. The A's are down 0-2 and haven't had a quality start from their starting pitcher yet. Yes, a lot of that has to do with the Tigers and that freaking woodpecker Polanco, but the old cliche is true that great starting pitching beats good hitting. If Harden can be King Richard on Friday, then suddenly this can turn around very quickly. Don't get me wrong, the A's absolutely need Frank Thomas to awaken from his slumber. It would also be nice to have a Swisher sighting. But the A's very nearly beat the Tigers best starting pitcher (arguably) without any contributions from Swisher and Thomas. That bodes well for the rest of the series in my opinion.
Does Kenny Rogers have more than just that great Yankees start in him? The A's have struggled mightily with Rogers in his career, but Rogers also has a history of getting lit up in the postseason. He had that remarkable start against the Yankees which basically swung that series permanently in the Tigers direction. Can Rogers do it again or does he return to postseason bomb he's been in the past?
The A's now have nothing on them. The pressure is off as NO ONE expects them to succeed now. And for whatever reason that always seems to bring the best out of the guys in the white shoes.
Yeah, I might be a little bit crazy for feeling good about things right now. Eight teams have gone down 0-2 at home in an LCS since 1985. And eight teams have failed to advance to the World Series. But there was also never a team to come back from an 0-3 deficit until 2004. And in hockey, I saw one of the greatest comebacks in sports history when the New Jersey Devils came back from a 3-1 series deficit in the Eastern Conference Finals against the mighty Flyers in 2000 to win a thrilling Game 7 and then the Stanley Cup. Just cause it hasn't be done, does not mean it won't be.
Maybe that Kool Aid I had for breakfast and my green and gold spectacles are assisting in how I'm viewing things, but hell, hope is all I've got.
A's in seven. Tupac would've kicked Eminem's ass. Hell yeah, hit em up.