Is Tigers' closer Benoit being too confident?
“It's great. I feel like we're already on the verge of the World Series again.” (USA TODAY IMAGES)
-Joaquin Benoit after Tigers' Game 1 win
Programming note: Watch A's October Quest tonight a 5 p.m. prior to the first pitch of ALDS Game 2 and following the final out, only on Comcast SportsNet California
OAKLAND – As if the A’s needed more motivation to rebound Saturday in the American League Division Series, Detroit closer Joaquin Benoit might have added some extra drive.
Benoit expressed supreme confidence after the Tigers beat the A’s 3-2 Friday in their series opener.
“We took the first step," Benoit said. “It's great. I feel like we're already on the verge of the World Series again.”
Detroit will need to ring up six more victories to reach its second straight Fall Classic, including two more against Oakland to close out the ALDS.
A’s manager Bob Melvin said he wasn’t aware of Benoit’s comments until told about them during Saturday’s media session with beat writers.
“Look, everybody handles things differently,” Melvin said. “I don’t think that affects us one way or another, and I hadn’t heard that.”
Tigers manager Jim Leyland didn’t have a major issue with Benoit’s proclamation but made it clear he’d rather not provide the A’s bulletin board material.
“I always tell my players, in all these situations, because of the national media attention, the less said is probably better,” Leyland said. “ Sure, I like a confident team. I don’t think you need to go on a stage and talk about it.”
The A’s itinerary following Saturday night’s Game 2 will certainly throw their body clocks off.
They will board a Detroit-bound team charter shortly after the game and aren’t scheduled to touch down in Michigan until 6:30 a.m. Sunday. Neither team is expected to work out Sunday, and you figure players will be sleeping late into the morning or perhaps even the afternoon.
Game 3 on Monday will begin at about 1 p.m. (ET), but it will feel like 10 a.m. to the A’s.
“It’s an interesting turnaround, one that’s unique,” Melvin said. “But there’s not a problem with adrenaline in the postseason.”
If you’re curious about the Detroit forecast for Games 3 and 4, weather.com calls for temperatures in the low- to mid-60’s with a 50 percent chance of rain on Monday and a 10 percent chance Tuesday.
Melvin said he typically takes a few hours to unwind after a night game before drifting off to sleep. After a loss, he said he avoids any baseball on the television. So what does he watch?
“Usually ‘Friends’ or ‘Seinfeld,’ , mindless stuff like that,” he said.
But the manager added: “I’ll watch TV and not even know what I’m watching. I’ll sit there for an hour and if you ask me what I was watching, I couldn’t tell you.”
There was curiosity throughout Game 1 about why the A’s didn’t test Detroit third baseman Miguel Cabrera by dropping down some bunts. Cabrera has been bothered by a groin injury which hinders his mobility.
Melvin pointed out that Cabrera was playing very shallow at third on Friday.
“If you see where he’s playing, I mean, he’s right there,” Melvin said. “And that ball that Sogey (Eric Sogard) hit in the third inning, he actually moved well side to side.”
Rather than bunting, Melvin suggested the A’s might do well to test Cabrera’s mobility by hitting the ball in his direction with a normal swing, “but sometimes you can’t control where they hit it.”