By Jeff Moss
September 30, 2014
The Detroit Tigers are the most talented overall team in the American League playoffs. They are the best built to win a short postseason series due to their combination of starting pitching and middle of the order bats.
So, why do I have zero confidence this team is going to utilize their inherent October advantages and make it to the World Series where I believe they’d face Doug Fister and the Washington Nationals in a matchup that would most likely be the tipping point for my life expectancy?
Well, it’s not Rajai Davis’ injury. Nor is it even the mediocre bullpen, which has caused constant trouble for the last six months. Hell, I am not even concerned about Andrew Romine as the starting shortstop.
Nope, the biggest impediment to the Detroit Tigers returning to the World Series is the man who on Tuesday decided that starting Justin Verlander over David Price in Game 2 at Camden Yards was a capital idea.
B[r]ad Ausmus. I mean, the PLAYOFFS haven’t even commenced yet and Surfer Boy Imbecile Ivy League Mimbo is ALREADY putting his team behind the eight-ball.
If there was one issue I wasn’t overly concerned about heading into the Tigers’ series with the Orioles, it was the starting rotation alignment. To say it was a no-brainer for Ausmus to go Max Scherzer/David Price/Justin Verlander/Rick Porcello would be an insult to both Sean Hannity and the Scarecrow.
The reasons for Max and Price to go back-to-back are countless; I can’t believe I even have to address them in this space. Of course, you could just stop with THEY ARE THE TEAM’S TWO BEST STARTING PITCHERS.
The most obvious reason that Price should be the Game 2 starter is that he would be available for EXTENSIVE usage for a Game 5, if necessary. The single biggest advantage the Tigers have over the Orioles is in a potential winner-take-all matchup. Detroit could go with a 1-2 punch of two of the Top 5 starters in the AL versus ….. Chris Tillman.
Call me bi-polar, but on a team with a bullpen stable of lefties named Phil Coke, Blaine Hardy and Kyle Lobstein it might be nice to have DAVID FUCKING PRICE available on his regular rest.
And please spare me any nonsense of Verlander’s previous ALDS history (he hadn’t lost four miles off his fastball last October) or this asinine rationale that Verlander gives up fewer homers than Price and that is why he should be starting the second game in Baltimore.
The difference in home runs allowed per nine innings between JV and Price this season is .14. In their respective careers, Price has allowed .83 per nine and Verlander .79. And who do you think is the better pitcher TODAY?
Point. One. Four. It’s irrelevant. And that’s before you consider Price spent the first four months of this season pitching his home games at Tropicana and a preponderance of his ROAD games at Fenway, Yankee Stadium and Camden.
Do you know the best way to ensure that an opposing batter doesn’t hit a dinger? BY STRIKING THEM OUT. And there is absolutely ZERO comparison between JV and Price this season when it comes to punch-outs.
Price led the American League in strikeouts with a K/9 of 9.82. Verlander had BY FAR his worst season ever in this category with a 6.95. THIS IS HUGE.
In a comparison with Verlander, for an additional inning per game, Price doesn’t allow the opportunity for a home run to be hit. Or for a fielder to make an error. Or for a ball to find a hole.
And yet, because of some bizarre anomaly in 2014 where we have seen Price give up a few more home runs, this dolt manager decides to give deference to a dude who, as of a few weeks ago, looked like he might not even be in the Tigers’ playoff rotation!!!!
I am literally in shock over this choice. When Ausmus has FOUR DAYS to make a decision he can’t get it right, so how can anyone have confidence in this moron when split-second maneuvering is necessary?
I have written more words on the Joakim Soria situation than George R.R. Martin has dedicated to high fantasy so I am not going to rehash that lunacy right now, but I will say this.
At the trade deadline, Dave Dombrowski dealt Austin Jackson; Drew Smyly; the organization’s best infielder prospect (Willy Adames); their top starting pitching prospect (Jake Thompson); and their potential future closer (Corey Knebel) for a starter who you just pigeonholed into a needlessly limited ALDS role and a superior reliever who can only pitch in the SEVENTH inning when the Tigers are up by four runs or fewer.
It’s fucking insane. This team should be easier to manage than a modern Boeing 777. Nobody in the postseason can match their 3-4-5 hitters. We haven’t even mentioned that the team has the 2013 AL ERA champion as another potential weapon in the bullpen (who isn’t being used appropriately, either) and I am pretty sure they are the only team to employ the last three Cy Young Award winners in the AL.
(When have the Tigers ever entered the postseason with all of their big offensive contributors firing on all cylinders? In September, Miggy’s OPS was 1.118, V-Mart’s was 1.094 and J.D. Martinez had a 1.005 on-base plus slugging percentage. That’s. Real. Good.)
The first pitch hasn’t even been thrown and this boneheaded decision will surely be a precursor for premature defensive replacements; Don Kelly starting in center and batting sixth; and useless bunting with the number two offense in all of baseball.
I knew I would have to be sedated during this postseason run with Jim Leyland, Jr. at the controls, but I honestly didn’t think I would need to start popping valium 48 hours before Tillman’s first pitch.
Verlander over Price?
And for all of you imbeciles who question my obsessive Man[ny]-love for Acta, well, chew on this …….
— Manny Acta (@MannyActa14) October 1, 2014
Yep, didn’t want THAT guy. I mean, who would desire a manager who makes decisions based on math and logic?