No A’s for this performance

Execution, you hear about it all 162 games from all 30 Major League teams. But it truly comes into play in October, when everything is so magnified.

When you don’t execute, you don’t win. It’s so true. And after this loss, the A’s — who blew one golden opportunity after another offensively — know it. 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position. Four double play balls. That’s just unacceptable and record-tying. Only the 2000 Cardinals know what it’s like to have such futility in the RISP department in a postseason game.

Now, the story was just as much about ace Barry Zito turning in an un-ace-like performance. But still, the A’s weren’t facing Sandy Koufax. They were facing Nate Robertson, the weak link in Detroit’s rotation.

One double play ball after another sank the A’s, and so did a tremendous diving catch by Craig Monroe that robbed Milton Bradley of a hit with two on and two outs in the fifth.

The Tigers are riding a wave that teams sometimes catch this time of year. After what they did against the Yankees, they have to feel somewhat invincible.

Not that this night was all roses for Detroit. They lost Sean Casey, their gritty first baseman, who hobbled off the field after a groundout to end the sixth. The loss of Casey is indeed mighty for the Tigers, who were forced to play light-hitting Ramon Santiago at short while moving Carlos Guillen to first in Casey’s absence.

The one thing about a seven-game series — and this helps the A’s — is that it is far longer than a best-of-five. One loss in this round isn’t nearly as detrimental as it would have been last round, as both the Twins and Yankees can attest to from the golf courses around the world.

P.S. — How about a shout-out to Rickey Henderson. The all-time stolen base king was in the house! He was truly one of the great characters I’ve ever encountered. My favorite Rickey story is when he called Padres general manager Kevin Towers and left the following message: "This is Rickey calling on behalf of Rickey."

I’m counting down the days until his 2009 Hall of Fame induction speech. He’s the man.

More later,




    Loved the shot of Rickey in the crowd, just seeing his face makes me smile. My memory of him was a game when he was with the Red Sox and he toyed with pitcher while on first base, think it was an Angels game and he just kept faking his jump back to the base… he owned the pitcher.


    Good coverage, Ian, but after watching the Tigers closely for the past four years, I can say Nate Robertson is not a weak link. I look at their four starters as being equal, each one just as likely to excel or fail in any given game. Tonight, Nate seemed to be struggling, but what did he end up with? Five scoreless inning. Not pretty, but effective.

  3. Ian

    Fair enough, you’ve watched more Tigers games than I have the last few years. I guess my lasting memory of Robertson was watching the Yankees take BP off him in Game 1 of the LCS. He certainly pitched well tonight.


    Is the box score correct?

    There were only 35,655 in attendance last night?

    I didn’t see the game on TV.

    I was at the infamous Jeter cutoff/Je. Giambi playoff game in 2001 which i think set a record at the time with well over 60,000 in attendance.

    35,000 for an ALCS game 1 in that stadium is ridiculous.

    (granted Oakland was up 2-0 on the Yankees in 2001, and it was an ALDS)

    Say it ain’t so!

    People get on Atlanta for not filling the Ted up in the playoffs…why don’t we hear it about Oakland? Or do we?


    Good morning! Well, that was a great game last night. 🙂 I’ll be happy for either team to go on from here, but I’m really rooting for the Tigers to do something big – they certainly stepped up to the plate last night and I hope to see some more of that.

    Now, as for the NLCS, I really hope that the Mets stomp the snot out of the Cardinals – David Wright’s from my hometown, and I’ve rooted for him since he was in the AAA Tides (good games too). Plus, I hate the Cardinals. 😛


    this goes to sopmaster… hey man i was at the game last night… and i dont know where you have been all season but the A’s covered the top section w/ those tarps… so 35 k is the max they can fit in there… so you shouldn’t jump on Oakland for a SELLOUT haha LETS GO OAKLAND

  7. Ian

    As for the question about the attendance, they’ve completely shut off the upper deck at McAfee this season, so that has a big impact on the attendance. if the A’s make the Series, the upper deck will be opened again.


    I’ve watched the Tigers for most of the year, as well as the Yankees. Robertson is a quality starter. With any luck, he could have been an 17- or 18-game winner. He lost, 2-0, in Yankee Stadium in late August, pitching into the 7th or 8th inning. I attended that game, and by no means is he a “traditional” fourth-starter.


    Hi all. If tigers wins this series they will be huge favorites to win the World Series.

    Neither the Mets nor the Cardinals have any chance with their pitching.


    On Opening Day 2006, the A’s were clobbered by the Yankees 15-2, but bounced back to win the series, and they also went on to sweep the Yankees in the Bronx. Against the Tigers on July 22, they were down 0-5 after the first inning, but battled back to win it 9-5. The A’s have shown resilience time and time again. Through all the injuries and the adversity, they have stuck with each other all year and have battled their way into the ALCS when nobody gave them a chance. That’s why I believe, even though the Tigers have taken Game 1, the A’s will go out after them, strike them and win the ALCS. It is the A’s time.

    Having said that, I’m also aware of the A’s weaknesses. The lack of hitting with runners in scoring position has been their problem all season long. Their defense have suffered after the loss of Golden Glove-caliber second baseman Mark Ellis. As good as A’s pitching is, the Tigers have a better team ERA. All these weaknesses were maginified in Game 1 loss of the ALCS. It was not any one player’s fault, they didn’t play well as a team.

    The A’s have to bind together and continue to play team baseball with everyone stepping up, pitching in and picking up each other, as they’ve done all year. Every player can be the momemtum shifter in a game. ( Mark Kotsay’s 12-pitch at bat in the bottom of the 9th against Toronto, Jason Kendall’s cannon gunning down the runner stealing 2nd base in Game 1 of ALDS. And so many others…)

    Victory goes to the brave. If any team can tame the Tigers, it’s the A’s.


    The Tiger pitching is good, but no one ever talks about thier hitting. Detroit has been amoung the leaders in the league all year in home runs, leading in home runs on the road, and has been within the top ten teams in batting average all year as well. When a team can put up batters 7,8 & 9, all with more than 25 home runs, you better have the best pitching staff in the majors. Oh, sorry, that would be Detroit. we dont blame people for thier doughts, after all, we remember 2003. But this is a totally different team, and it’s for real.


    As for Nate being the “weak” link…

    Last year he had the third worst run support in the AL. This year, it was like 7th. Leyland calls him “our bad luck” pitcher. A few balls that bouncing the right way, and one bad pitch that was crushed, and Nate beats the Yanks.

    Anyhoo, great blog. Go Tigers!


    NATE,a weak link,now that is a funny remark.
    NATE is as tough as it gets.

    I have seen this man go out there a pitch like a bulldog.

    He is not a cake walk,he can dominate any team.

    This year he could have won 18 games with run support.If you are not a TIGERS fan you cannot appreciate his talent.

    Tony D////\\\\


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