Justin Verlander claimed he didn’t have control of his fastball and felt off and rusty even before the first pitch of Game 1. This was made worse by Gerry Davis being behind the plate, calling 3 pitches that should have been strikes, balls, in the first inning alone.
And then Pablo Sandoval happened. On an 0-2 pitch that was high, but still too close to the strike zone, Sandoval somehow got on top of the ball and crushed it to straight away center for a 1-0 lead.
Then in the 3rd inning, on a ball that should have been the third out ended up bouncing off of 3rd base and into left field, resulting in a 2 out double. Three runs and the 2nd of 3 Sandoval home runs later and the game was mostly over.
A 4-0 lead in the 4th inning shouldn’t be the end of the game but the way the Tigers were not hitting and the way the Giants were able to foul off pitch after pitch to force long at bats and the three home runs by Sandoval, the Tigers didn’t stand a chance.
Two good things came from this game, first, with some swings late in the game it looks like the Tigers may have knocked some rust off the bats. Second, it was confirmed that Jose Valverde should never be seen again. Leyland let him pitch one inning, well, attempted to let him pitch one inning and, true to form, it was a disaster.
As awful as the third inning was, with a ball hitting the bag and bouncing away, that’s baseball. And the beauty of baseball is you get to come right back and play again.
Tigers look to Doug Fister, who has been pitching out of his mind since mid September, who will take the mound against Madison Bumgarner, like Barry Zito, another lefty, but who has struggled in the playoffs.
Before the series started I felt the Tigers simply needed to win one of the two games in San Francisco. I didn’t expect them to lose in the fashion they did last night but it happens and even though it looked like the world was ending last night, it was only one game. 1-0 Giants, try again tonight.