Halfway through Tuesday's game in Detroit, the Tigers were losing 3-0 to the A's and the game was already over. Which meant the series was over, too. Or so you'd have guessed, listening to all the broadcasters. Because, you know ... momentum. Also, Dan Straily's the new Greg Maddux.
And then in the space of about three seconds, everything changed. Prince Fielder parachuted a single into left field, Victor Martinez grounded a single into right field, and Jhonny Peralta hit one out of the park. Just like that, it was 3 to 3. Which, because we live in a strange new world, immediately led to things like this:
Bad move by Jhonny Peralta hitting that home run. Killed the rally. Next three Tigers make outs. 3-3 after five innings.— Jesse Spector (@jessespector) October 8, 2013
Because we live in a strange new world, you probably get the joke. But just in case, this goes back to last Friday, when the Braves beat the Dodgers, 4-3, in the second game of their Division Series. In the eighth inning of that game, with his Dodgers down 4-1, Hanley Ramirez hit a two-run homer.
Ok. I know U have to think a lil deeper. But a HR that doesn't tie or put U ahead doesn't help. Pitcher goes back to the wind up.— Steve Lyons (@SteveLyons12) October 5, 2013
And a moment or two later, Lyons elaborated:
He has no more pressure and everybody starts over. Rally killer. Hit a double and score 1 run and keep the pitcher in trouble— Steve Lyons (@SteveLyons12) October 5, 2013
There were a couple of problems with Lyons' analysis. For one thing, the pitcher at the time was David Carpenter ... who didn't pitch from the wind-up, regardless of whether or not there was anybody aboard. This is common among relief pitchers. The other problem is that Ramirez hit his home run in the eighth inning. In the eighth inning, you're just hoping to make it close. Even with Craig Kimbrel lurking in the bullpen, you're thrilled to make it close.
A rally killer? Sure. The rally's over. But you're happy with the rally you got. You're happy to get within a run of tying, even in the eighth inning. In the ninth, it's different. In the ninth, Lyons' point -- aside from the thing about the wind-up -- would have been a good one. In the ninth, the Dodgers would have been slightly better off with a double from Ramirez, and maybe even a single. Because you want the pitcher and the infielders thinking about a baserunner.
In the eighth, though? Maybe Lyons was disappointed by the home run. But he shouldn't have been.