Anatomy of A One-Game Playoff


A one-game playoff is at once nothing like baseball and the absolute essence of the sport.

Baseball is divided into approximately 50 3-to-4 game series and 162 total games. Baseball is about maintaining a team over an extended period of time. Baseball is a test of wills and endurance. Lucky and unlucky (think about two Tigers pitchers in particular) starts regress back to normal. As the saying goes, baseball is a marathon, not a sprint.

And yet baseball is a collection of streaks. A whole season is only the sum of its parts. Baseball may be a marathon, but what is a marathon but a collection of numerous hot streaks and cold streaks. Heck, even Yuniesky Betancourt hits 3 homers in a series once in a millennium.

Minnesota is, at once, the underdog and the favorite. With a rotation full of young’uns, a great lineup (think Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Mike Cuddyer, and Jason Kubel all in rapid succession), and a solid defense, the Twins are lovable losers winners. And most importantly, they have something that Detroit doesn’t — momentum. At the same time, Kevin Slowey is out for the season and the newly acquired Carl Pavano is far from an ace.

Detroit – not only the franchise but the city itself – has everything to lose.  The city of Detroit, built upon the auto industry, is undergoing massive financial difficulties, and there’s a hefty monetary prize for winning a World Series, and Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski knows this as well. The plan, naive as it was, was to shell out for good players, win the World Series, and shed light upon a darkened city. Everything was going great for El Tigres until reality struck Edwin Jackson and the newly acquired Jarrod Washburn (I feel somehow responsible), and their once 7-game lead in the AL Central dwindled down to a tie for first on the season’s final day.

Bright-eyed rookie Rick Porcello (5.39 tRA, 4.81 FIP) will face seasoned veteran Scott Baker (4.33 tRA, 4.03 tRA), so we all know that Porcello will fade under pressure and implode. [Sarcasm fully intended.]

But we must all keep something in mind when we analyze this game.

Whichever teams wins…..will be beaten by the Yankees.