The Tigers are sending Max Scherzer to the mound to face off against CC Sabathia in a potential series deciding game 4 at Comerica Park.
The Tigers have had success in the playoffs against Sabathia before so they can definitely win tonight and wrap this series up a full week before the World Series begins. And with as dominant has Scherzer has been since mid-June and the way they Yankees have been striking out, they could easily win tonight.
But, what if the Tigers do get a week off before the World Series? I noted before about 2006 Tigers and 2007 Rockies where the delay before playing again appeared to hurt them, wouldn’t that be the same with this team? Yes, it could be the same, but it isn’t likely to affect them as much.
In 2006 the Tigers had everything roll right for them. Magglio Ordonez came back from an experimental knee surgery to help lead the way offensively with Pudge Rodriguez, who batted third yet refused to take a walk. Craig Monroe and Marcus Thames were key players on that team that was using a 38 year old Kenny Rogers as its ace.
That team played well above expectations for the entire year, squeaked out wins and despite all the excitement in the city of Detroit, just wasn’t that great of a ball team, but was proving that in baseball, sometimes, anyone can win. And the wheels fell off in the World Series because the magic ran out and maybe the delay did hurt them, but more likely, the team just wasn’t strong enough to overcome the pitching errors in the World Series.
In 2007, the Rockies had to wait a week before playing a Red Sox team that was MUCH better than them. That delay did hurt them but only because that team was on such a roll before the week off that it was bound to get to them. The Rockies were left for dead at the beginning of September, all but eliminated from playoff contention. However, they went on to win 21 of 22 games to starve off elimination, win a play-in-game 163 and roll to the World Series. Never stop a team on a hot streak…and that is what the break did to them.
But this Tigers team is different…they are oozing with talent and a few extra days off shouldn’t harm them at all. This team has 4 players that will finish in the top 15 of the AL MVP voting and that doesn’t include Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer, who are forming an amazing starting rotation in these playoffs.
If the Tigers do manage to wrap up the series tonight, no need to fret about extra time off and cooling off before the World Series, this team is built to win right now and should be just fine. But, if they don’t, a few extra reps and swings wouldn’t exactly hurt the team either.