One final chance that is, for the Tigers to salvage their season.
That’s the situation that Detroit finds themselves in before tonight’s game four of the ALDS against the Oakland Athletics. You know the clichés: win or go home, last game of the year can’t hold anything back, all or nothing, blah, blah, blah.
The Tigers have put themselves in this position though, so they either need to get themselves out or just pack it in. I mean, losing a game where your starting pitcher hurls seven scoreless innings. Really? And then two days after the abysmal offensive performance in Oakland, what do they do? They come out flat — offensively and defensively. They did break a too-long-to-count scoring drought yesterday, but Anibal Sanchez — who happened to have the American League’s lowest earned run average during the regular season — flopped like a fish out of the water and gave up six runs.
What it comes down to tonight won’t be any one thing. It’s going to be whether the Tigers can play, and win, desperation baseball? You know what I mean. Those moments when everything seems to come together and despite the odds against a team, they somehow manage to overcome it. The Tigers are home and easily equal if not greater than the A’s on paper, but they’re the under dog tonight.
They’re a team that’s reeling. Can’t hit when they need to. Can’t pitch when they hit. Not making the right coaching decision down the wire. Nothing has seemed to go right for them these past two games and I don’t see a reason why that'd change tonight.
You want to believe in them. You have to believe — that’s what fans do. Unfortunately, something about this team just doesn’t seem to have “it.” They’ll need to find whatever “it” is if they hope to force a game five in Oakland.
And it feels like if Detroit has a chance to do just that, it’s going to be at the hands of an unlikely source. Miguel Cabrera isn’t Miguel Cabrera: I think we can all agree he’s not going to save the day tonight. So the question becomes, “who’s going to be the hero?”
Somebody needs to step up and take control of this floundering ship that people call a baseball team. That’s the only way I see the Tigers winning tonight — playing solid, team baseball. And maybe, just maybe, an unlikely source on the Tigers’ bench will get a call from the skipper and take advantage of the opportunity to be a hero.