Very superstitious/The Red Line
Far be it from me to acquire wisdom from a beer commercial, but there really is something to the assertion made by Bud Light: “It’s only weird if it doesn’t work.”
Exhibit A: During Game 3 of the American League Division Series, the Tigers, are struggling miserably at the plate.
I mute the television to take a phone call. Over the course of this discussion, Detroit racks up three runs.
Because it’s October, I am quick to create an entirely unwarranted connection between the two, turning the sound off again when the Tigers get into trouble in the next half-inning. It doesn’t save them from defeat.
I watch most of Game 4 with the sound off. The Tigers win. I watch all of Game 5 with the sound off. The Tigers win the game and the series.
Exhibit B: I wear my Tigers jersey for Game 1 of the ALDS. Though I am unable to watch because the game is on Friday night, the Tigers win.
I wear different Tigers apparel for Games 2 and 3. They lose. Back to the jersey for Game 4. They win. I hang the jersey up on the door lest it go into the laundry pile.
After my Justin Verlander T-shirt did the trick for Game 5 of the ALDS, the jersey goes back on again for ALCS Game 1. Another winner, followed by two losses in different apparel.
Guess what shirt I had on last night?
Of course, there are probably an equal number of folks in New England juggling lucky hats, scraps and rabbit’s feet on behalf of the Boston Red Sox. I’ve never been one to believe in psychic powers or telekinesis, so it’s entirely likely that their impact on this series has been exactly equal to mine: nil.
Through four games, though, there has been so little to separate the Tigers and Red Sox that I can’t help but take every precaution.
A college friend noted that Detroit is one bad pitch (ostensibly by Justin Verlander to Mike Napoli in Game 3 Tuesday) and one clutch hit (the grand slam by David Ortiz in Game 2) away from celebrating a sweep.
This is true, but the Tigers swept the ALCS in both 2006 and 2012 and it didn’t do them a lick of good.
In fact, it reminds me of one of the tenets of what I called the “Todd Jones Save Manual: A Guide to Artistic Relief Pitching.”
“Blow a save every once in a while, just to keep everyone honest.”
Had the Tigers finished off the Red Sox Wednesday, we would have had an entire week to worry about who they’d scrimmage to stay sharp and whether or not Miguel Cabrera’s abdomen was healing. Joaquin Benoit says “You’re welcome.”
Instead, it’s now a best-of-three. Right back where we started on Saturday night.
The number one truth of the series thus far is that if the Red Sox continue to utterly fail to hit Detroit’s starting pitching at any point, they will not win the series.
Anibal Sanchez goes tonight in the pivotal Game 5, and before we get all excited about how baffled he kept the Red Sox in Game 1, let’s not forget that he wasn’t very good against the A’s in the Division Series.
But, Jim Leyland’s decision to shuffle the deck in the batting order appears to have sparked Detroit’s offense, which would make for some nice insurance against a merely mortal outing from one of the starters.
Heck, the Tigers scored runs in multiple different innings Wednesday. That’s got to be some sort of record.
The meaning of all these conflicting arguments is this: Through four games, this series has been almost as devoid of momentum as it has been of balls put in play.
So, without hard data to establish a narrative, I’m going to put one together on luck for now. Because in October, they can often be just as good.
Brandon Veale can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/redveale.