12th Man Report: Showtime for Tigers
Being that Tuesday night’s contest between the Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox is just game three of a seven-game series that’s tied 1-1, you wouldn’t think there’s much on the line…
That’s far, far from the case, though.
To say that Boston has the momentum right now after their Cinderella comeback on Sunday — you know the one where Detroit’s star closer decided to float a changeup right in Big Papi’s wheelhouse — wouldn’t even do the situation justice. I don’t want to sound like a worry wart, but this game three feels like a must-win for the Tigers.
Think about it. Justin Verlander (evidently the JV of old if his post-season performances remain consistent) is on the mound and they’re finally on their home turf after splitting the first two games in a very difficult Fenway Park. But the Tigers are reeling — playing on their heels.
They need to come out and make a statement. Currently, there seems to be a feeling that Big Papi’s eighth-inning grand slam was practically a knock-out punch to the Tigers. Not only did it turn the tide dramatically for the Red Sox and gave them all the momentum, but even more so gave the Tigers a feeling of dread.
Which is why I think that Tuesday night’s game is that much more important. The Tigers can prove all these naysayers wrong. They can bounce back. I mean hell; they’re playing in a city that’s currently trying to bounce back from a lot more than an eighth-inning grand slam, right?
They definitely have the personnel to take what could’ve been a crushing blow to their World Series hopes and turn that anguish into motivation. I know for sure that Tori Hunter — the team’s vocal leader — won’t let another deep fly ball go out of the park unless he actually dies trying to catch it this time. It’s the Tigers’ veteran presence that will enable them to say damn the man and not allow Boston to ride their confidence into town and take a decisive 2-1 series lead.
I don’t want to sound ridiculous — you know, like the guy who’s certain the world is going to end as he’s preaching to you at a stoplight — but this game feels like a do-or-die situation for the Tigers. If they don’t win, I really don’t see them winning the series.
Fortunately, if there’s any team and group of players who can turn one night’s disappointment into the next night’s promise, it’s the Tigers. This is a Tigers’ team that has shown a lot of heart over the past three seasons, so I don’t see why that would change now.