So, yeah, I have no idea what Tigers manager Brad Ausmus will do with his bullpen in Game 3. David Price, get ready for nine innings of work. The Orioles won a dramatic Game 2 by the score of 7-6, leaving the Tigers and their fans in a state of shock. Five big moments:
1. Delmon Young, postseason hero.
This could be one of the best #Orioles pics we've ever seen. #LetsGoOs #WeWontStop #OriolesMagic pic.twitter.com/C3VBhuK2ow
— Fed Thrill (@fedthrill) October 3, 2014
#WeWontStop chant, fans going wild, it's just the way October should be in #Birdland pic.twitter.com/BktSZ9Sqnx
— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) October 3, 2014
At a time when 95-mph relief studs seem to be falling off trees, the Tigers have a $170M payroll and no bullpen whatsoever. Amazing.
— Anthony Castrovince (@castrovince) October 3, 2014
WHY WOULD YOU EVER THROW A FIRST PITCH TO DELMON YOUNG ANYWHERE NEAR THE STRIKEZONE? pic.twitter.com/b82aK7bMO9
— Cork Gaines (@CorkGaines) October 3, 2014
Did this really happen? As the bottom of the eighth inning began, I emailed my friend Thomas, a big Tigers fan. I jokingly said: "Joba and Nathan can hold a three-run lead, right?"
Nope. The Tigers didn't even get to Joe Nathan; Joba Chamberlain and Joakim Soria self-combusted as the Orioles scored four runs in the eighth. It all began when Chamberlain hit Adam Jones with one out, which nearly sent Dennis Eckersley into hysterics in the TBS broadcast, and ended with former Tigers postseason hero Young pinch hitting and haunting them with a bases-clearing double into left field. Three quick notes on that hit:
A. Tigers pitching coach Jeff Jones visited the mound after Soria had walked J.J. Hardy to load the bases.
B. Young hit a first-pitch slider. Probably not a bad pitch because Young is known as a first-pitch fastball hitter. But the location, as you can see above, was terrible.
C. J.D. Martinez slightly bobbled the carom off the wall, Ian Kinsler's relay throw was to the outside of home plate and Hardy made a great slide.
2. Anibal Sanchez comes into the game . . . and then exits.
IMPRESSIVE ...#Tigers Anibal Sanchez comes in, bails out Verlander and restores order to the "Cats" bullpen. This is HUGE for Tigers.
— Dan Plesac (@Plesac19) October 3, 2014
Everyone knows about the shaky Detroit bullpen, so when Justin Verlander could only go five-plus innings and left after a leadoff single in the sixth, it was up to Sanchez to hold things down. He had pitched just once since missing seven weeks with a right pectoral strain but retired all six batters he faced, throwing 30 pitches. Apparently that was enough because Ausmus didn't let him go back out there for the eighth, which ... well, see above.
3. Tigers foolishly send Miguel Cabrera.
Meanwhile, the Tigers cost themselves one and maybe two runs when Miggy tried to score with 0 outs half an inning ago. #smrtbaseball
— keithlaw (@keithlaw) October 3, 2014
This has to be on third-base coach Dave Clark. Victor Martinez had just doubled off the wall in center, scoring Torii Hunter, but Clark rescued Kevin Gausman and the O's by waving home Miggy. Unlike the Tigers, the Orioles completed a good relay -- second baseman Jonathan Schoop has a hose -- and Cabrera was easily out at home, defusing a potential big rally that in the end was very much needed. (Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs has a take on the play, suggesting it made sense to send Cabrera if he can make it 82 percent of the time. Which looked unlikely from the positioning of Cabrera when Schoop received the relay throw.)
4. J.D. Martinez hits a three-run homer.
2 HRs in 2 games. @JDMartinez14 and the #postseason, the start of a beautiful friendship: http://t.co/MQAnJtDi80 pic.twitter.com/moJ06QsleI
— MLB (@MLB) October 3, 2014
J.D. Martinez, the day he was cut: “If there’s not room for me to get at-bats ... it’s best to let me go" http://t.co/HZTQTrvGFk
— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) October 3, 2014
One day the Astros will develop a hitter as good as J.D. Martinez.
— Jonah Keri (@jonahkeri) October 3, 2014
Orioles starter Wei-Yin Chen had cruised through the first three innings, but everything fell apart in a 10-pitch span in the fourth that erased Baltimore's 2-0 lead -- a Hunter single, Cabrera's double off the center-field wall, Victor Martinez's RBI single and then J.D. Martinez mashing a first-pitch slider to left for a three-run homer followed by Nick Castellanos hammering the next pitch out to right. It blew up so quickly on Chen that manager Buck Showalter didn't have time to get Gausman properly warmed up and into the game.
J.D. Martinez's storybook season continues. Cut in spring training by the Astros, he now has become part of the monster 3-4-5 middle of the Detroit lineup. He had cooled down somewhat in July and August but rebounded with a big September, when he hit .354 and six home runs. He's kept going in the postseason.
5. That double play.
5-4-3 #WeWontStop pic.twitter.com/qbVfuUj5hp
— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) October 3, 2014
Ryan Flaherty with the diving stop, Schoop with the excellent turn, Miggy's lack of speed once again hurting the Tigers. Pretty stuff.