Toothless Tigers tumble into 3-0 hole after loss to Giants
BY CHRIS DE LUCA firstname.lastname@example.org October 27, 2012 11:30PM
Quintin Berry, who admits, “Nothing is good right now,” flips his bat after fanning in the seventh. | David J. Phillip~AP
Updated: November 29, 2012 6:52AM
DETROIT — If your team is winless after three games of the World Series and riding a streak of 18 innings without scoring a run, expect the questions to take a turn down a dark alley.
The Detroit Tigers were facing more questions about wilting under pressure than two-strike breaking balls from the San Francisco Giants on Saturday night.
This team that allowed the White Sox to spend 117 days in first place tried to shrug off each query, but after a while, they knew no one was buying their story.
‘‘It’s the postseason, you have to be amped up,’’ high-priced and highly struggling slugger Prince Fielder said. ‘‘Somebody’s lying if they tell you they’re not excited.’’
Excited is OK. Terrified is a problem.
The Tigers looked like a team filled with fear — again — while falling 2-0 to the Giants in Game 3 of the World Series. They are in a 3-0 hole, and you have to wonder exactly how this team was able to push across two ninth-inning runs in Game 1.
‘‘Nothing is good right now,’’ said Tigers left fielder Quintin Berry, who struck out twice to ruin rallies and grounded into a double play to end another.
‘‘I don’t know anybody in a World Series game that doesn’t have a little pressure on them.’’
Well, you could look across the field and see Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum — after keeping the Tigers hitless in 21/3 innings of relief — cutting up in the dugout with injured closer Brian Wilson, acting like a couple of odd-looking school kids.
‘‘Confidence is the biggest thing,’’ said Lincecum, whose team trailed Dusty Baker’s Cincinnati Reds 2-0 in the National League Division series, then won the next three games to advance. ‘‘Where we were at in the NLDS and the [championship series], it gave us the momentum and the drive to know we can do anything.’’
If the Giants are feeling an ounce of pressure, it didn’t show.
Take the fifth inning. Leading 2-0 thanks to a second-inning rally fueled by Gregor Blanco’s RBI triple off starter Anibal Sanchez, the Giants were in their tightest squeeze in the last two games.
No problem for starter Ryan Vogelsong. Bases loaded, one out and No. 2 hitter Berry and triple-crown winner Miguel Cabrera due up.
Berry struck out on a weak swing and Cabrera popped to short. You could see the Giants snickering all the way to the dugout.
‘‘Very impressive with the hitters he had to face,’’ Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Vogelsong. ‘‘He’s got that ability to keep his poise and slow things down.’’
Tigers manager Jim Leyland couldn’t believe a prime opportunity amounted to nothing.
‘‘I thought we had Ryan on the ropes,’’ Leyland said. ‘‘We couldn’t get the killer hit or the killer blow.’’
The Tigers’ frustrating offense is the key reason the White Sox could spend so much time in first place.
The lineup that struck such fear with Cabrera and Fielder in the middle started clicking against the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series.
And now it’s stuck in neutral.
‘‘We’ve been pretty hot and cold all year — a little more cold than hot,’’ Leyland said.
And now the Tigers are trailing 3-0 — a summit no team has climbed in World Series history.
Talk about pressure.
‘‘You can’t worry about that,’’ Berry said. ‘‘If you start talking about those kind of things, you might as well go home right now.’’