To root, or to root against the Boston Red Sox. That is the question. For many Detroit Tigers fans, even the most hardcore among us, watching the 2018 World Series has been a bit of a painful reminder of the franchise’s glory days early in the decade. Coming on the heels of Justin Verlander’s triumphant run with the Houston Astros last season, it’s a bit much to watch Ian Kinsler, J.D. Martinez, David Price, and Rick Porcello playing major roles with the Juggernaut out of Beantown. Lynn Henning at The Detroit News touched on the topic on Monday.
On Wednesday, those same players (with the exception of Porcello) played major roles as the Red Sox took Game 2 over the Los Angeles Dodgers by a 4-2 final score. David Price found his command and confidence late in the ALCS against the Astros and pitched very well against the Dodgers in Game 2. He tossed six innings of two-run ball for the type of solid starting performance we’ve seen too rarely this postseason. Ian Kinsler had an RBI single early to give Boston their first lead of the night. And J.D. Martinez came through with a two-run single in the fifth inning to put the Red Sox on top for good.
Let’s criticize some managers!
Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts drew some criticism — of course — for some of his bullpen usage in Game 1. While Ben Reiter at Sports Illustrated offered a defense for the Game 1 moves, things didn’t improve on Wednesday. Roberts’ decision to stick with Hyun-Jin Ryu in the fifth inning as the lineup turned over a third time, as well as other choices, are already catching fire as well. It isn’t easy under the postseason microscope. Sabermetrician, and author of The Book, Mitchel Lichtman, was ahead of the curve with these preemptive shots before Ryu crumbled.
As Ryu is a good but not great pitcher he’s the one you want out after 2 times through the order. Will Roberts do that or will he wait until he allows a runner or two?— Mitchel Lichtman (@mitchellichtman) October 25, 2018
What does leaving in a starter like Ryu for the 3rd time through the order, say until he allows a runner or two, or another inning or two if he doesn’t, cost? Around .4% in WE per batter so maybe 1 to 2%. That’s a lot. That’s huge.— Mitchel Lichtman (@mitchellichtman) October 25, 2018
Meanwhile, it’s all coming up aces for Red Sox manager, Alex Cora. Over the Monster, SB Nation’s Red Sox community, even claims they will no longer second-guess their rookie manager after Eduardo Nuñez’s three-run pinch hit home run in Game 1. I doubt very much they can stick to that proclamation should things unravel.
OK, but where’s the Dave Rozema Memorial Orthopedic Center?
Former Tigers starter and wingman to Jack Morris throughout the classic 1984 season, Dan Petry, has been on a lot of lips lately. For one, he seems like the most popular option to split duties as Fox Sports Detroit’s color man on Tigers broadcasts next year (on Twitter, at least). The California native moved to Michigan in 1987 and has been a fixture in Detroit-area youth baseball for years. He got a nice tribute this week as Orchard Lake St. Mary’s High School re-named their baseball park after him.
If the phrase "a great ballplayer and even better person" applies to anyone, it's Dan Petry.— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) October 23, 2018
And it's why the Orchard Lake St. Mary’s baseball program dedicated their field to him over the weekend. pic.twitter.com/4qsPIgL4zK
Around the horn
All year long, the Dodgers lived by the long ball, but right now Cody Bellinger can’t find the power stroke to be the impact lefty bat they need. FanGraphs prospects guru Kiley McDaniel took a crack at estimating the next five World Series champions based on their organizations. No, the Tigers weren’t on the list.
If Clayton Kershaw has lost his elite stuff for good, Wednesday night’s Game 1 performance finally seemed to be a wake-up call to the national media that Kershaw isn’t Kershaw anymore. David Price’s fortunes have swung from Boston goat to GOAT this postseason. Andrew Benintendi is finding his own star turn in the shadow of Mookie Betts this October. He also featured in a picture that may become iconic should the Red Sox go on to finish off the Dodgers.
Baseball is awesome, even if dad isn’t impressed
There isn’t much Tigers news just yet, other than Tuesday’s cuts from the 40-man roster. Probably all you need to see from the Arizona Fall League just yet is Daz Cameron ripping a triple to left-center off of Astros’ prospect Forrest Whitley, perhaps the best pitching prospect in the country. Some other Cameron felt the need to give Daz a bit of grief about that slide, though...
Goodness can decide if u gonna go head first or standing up not the slow guy bell flop ♂️.. good swing off a good pitcher though— Cameron (@_darkman44) October 23, 2018