DETROIT -- For a World Series that looked, on paper, to be a matchup between two well-balanced teams capable of stretching this thing to a full seven games, it's now looking like this Fall Classic may not make it past the weekend.
Statistically, the odds are never good for a team as soon as it loses the first game of the World Series, let alone the first three. When a club wins Game 1, more often than not, it ends up winning the World Series. The success rate increases that much more for teams that win Games 1 and 2.
But when a team wins the first three? Forget about it. Historically, it's a lock.
So if the Tigers are going to pull this off -- recover from a three games to none deficit and win the World Series -- they're going to have to make history while doing so. The Giants are the 24th team to take a 3-0 lead in the World Series. All of the previous 23 teams to hold such an advantage have gone on to win it.
The Tigers are saying all the right things, and really, if they sound a little cliched right now, can you blame them? It's hard to come up with new and innovative ways to state and restate the obvious: They need to win a game. Just one, for now. Immediately.
"We've won four games in a row before," outfielder Andy Dirks said. "We're just going to take it one game at a time, come out tomorrow, be ready to play and give it our all like we have every single game this year."
That's the plan, plain and simple. At this point, what else can they do?
|Series||Miguel Cabrera||Prince Fielder|
|ALDS||5-for-20, two 2B's, 1 RBI||4-for-21, 1 HR, 2 RBIs|
|ALCS||5-for-16, 1 HR, 4 RBIs||4-for-17, 1 RBI|
|WS||2-for-9, 1 RBI||1-for-10, 0 RBI|
"You don't really have to tell them anything," manager Jim Leyland said. "They can count. We know they're down three games to zero, there's no secret formula or message for them. They're big guys, they know what the situation is, and they know we have to come out tomorrow and obviously win a game. I think it starts with that."
There's more grim news for the Tigers. Chew on this: Of the 23 teams that have taken a 3-0 lead in the Series, 20 have won it in Game 4, while the other three have finished the series in Game 5.
No team down 3-0 has even pushed the World Series to a Game 6. The Tigers need to do that, plus one. And if they manage to send the series back to where it started, they'd be doing something no other team has after starting out 0-fer in their first three games.
But first, they have to get through Sunday. What more can they do?
"You talking about sacrificing a chicken or something?" Delmon Young said. "Nah. We're not going to do anything like that."
Young followed with the actual plan, which is do what they haven't been able to do in the first three games: score early, and often.
"That's what they've been doing to us -- scoring first and putting the pressure on us," Young said. "We haven't been able to come back on them."
That was the sentiment from nearly every player who spoke after the Game 3 loss: The pitching has been good. The defense, solid. But the bats? Inexplicably, they've largely been a non-factor.
Specifically, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder have gone a combined 3-for-19 (.158). Cabrera is 2-for-9, while Fielder is 1-for-10.
"If you're not hot right now, it's unfortunate but that's how it goes sometimes," Dirks said. "All it takes is one at-bat to get everybody rolling again. One big inning here, one big something there and the momentum switches. That's what this game is. It's a game of momentum."
A few lockers down, catcher Alex Avila sounded like he wasn't so much a believer in momentum. He does feel his team will have the proper mindset heading into Game 4, however, regardless of the deficit.
"We do this for a living," he said, simply.
The Tigers sound confident, but realistic as well. They may not know exactly how many teams have been unsuccessful in recovering from a three-game deficit in the best-of-seven World Series, but it's safe to assume most know the odds aren't great.
"Guys are a kind of down a little bit on themselves, because we know we can play way better than this and we've worked so hard to be better than this," Quintin Berry said. "Just things aren't going well. You can see it a little bit in everyone's faces.
"We'll keep preparing, keep fighting, just don't give up. That's pretty much all you can do. We've been preparing for this. We can't do any more when it comes to preparing. We got in really late the other day, six in the morning, had BP on the field and came here and hit. You take a flight like that, you're on the plane day and all night, you come in the next morning and you usually have a day off. We all know we're trying. You have to keep playing and fight through it."