Miguel Cabrera: Tigers 'never found confidence'

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Miguel Cabrera: Tigers 'never found confidence'

From Comcast SportsNetDETROIT (AP) -- Miguel Cabrera stood at the plate and watched one last pitch sail by: strike three to end Detroit's season.The Triple Crown winner had given the Tigers a glimmer of hope with a two-run homer in the third inning, but it wasn't enough. In this series, nothing Detroit did at the plate was enough."I think we never found our confidence," Cabrera said.Cabrera struck out looking in the 10th inning Sunday night for the final out in the Tigers' 4-3 loss to San Francisco in Game 4 of the World Series. The Giants completed a four-game sweep for their second championship in three years, bringing a quiet end to Cabrera's marvelous season and Detroit's latest attempt to win its first title since 1984.After being shut out in Games 2 and 3 and falling behind early in the finale, the Tigers at least mounted one last comeback. Cabrera's wind-blown, two-run drive put Detroit up 2-1 for its first lead of the series. When Buster Posey gave the Giants a 3-2 lead with a sixth-inning homer, Detroit tied it immediately in the bottom half on a solo shot by Delmon Young.But that was it.The Tigers wouldn't score again, and the vaunted middle of their batting order wasn't heard from. After a leadoff walk in the eighth, Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Young struck out in succession, and there was a sense that one more San Francisco run would win it.Marco Scutaro delivered it, singling home the tiebreaking run in the 10th."It is unfortunate, but we played as hard as we could. Losing to the World Series champions isn't too bad," Fielder said. "We played good baseball, but they just beat us. We had a great season to get to the playoffs, and we played well to get to the World Series. You just don't get to write your own script."On one pitch in the eighth Fielder ducked back from one of Jeremy Affeldt's breaking balls, only to have the ball drop over the plate."He was excellent. He was pretty nasty," Fielder said. "You have to tip your cap."The final pitch of the game to Cabrera looked hittable -- but Detroit looked out of synch offensively from the start in this series."I didn't think he was going to throw the fastball," Cabrera said quietly. "But he got me with it."Between this year and 2006, the Tigers have now lost seven consecutive World Series games. That's one off the record of eight, set most recently by the Atlanta Braves in 1996 and 1999, according to STATS, LLC."If somebody told me in spring training that we would be in the World Series, I would have had to say I'll take that," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "It was kind of a weird way that we got there because we were a little inconsistent all year, then we played pretty well when we had to, to get the division, and we obviously played pretty good through the first two rounds of playoffs."After sweeping the New York Yankees in the AL championship series, never trailing in their four games, the AL Central champion Tigers hit .159 in the World Series. They went hitless and struck out eight times in the last four innings Sunday.The average is the third lowest in World Series history, above only the 1969 Orioles (.146) and 1966 Dodgers (.142), according to STATS."I'm a little bit flabbergasted to be honest with you," Leyland said. "In both of those series, I never would have thought that we would have swept the New York Yankees, and I never would have thought that the Giants would have swept us, but it happened. It's a freaky game."If Detroit been able to manage a win, the Tigers would have sent ace Justin Verlander to the mound for Game 5 with a chance to send the series back to San Francisco."You fight as a family for eight months, so it is really difficult to have it end like this," Verlander said. "We can tell ourselves that we were the best team in the American League, and that's a great achievement, but we aren't the best team in the world. That was our goal, and that didn't happen."Fielder, the 214 million acquisition who was brought in to give the Tigers a better shot at that elusive championship, went 1 for 14 in the Series. He hit just .173 with one homer and three RBIs in the postseason, including 1 for 25 (.040) against righties."For us to play like we did against this great club, I couldn't be prouder of these guys," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.Now Detroit will have to come back next year and try again to reward owner Mike Ilitch with a title after his big spending."I'm disappointed for Mr. Ilitch. We wanted this bad for him," Leyland said. "But when you've been in the game a long time, somebody wins and somebody loses."Tigers starter Max Scherzer gave up three runs and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings, struck out eight and walked none. Relievers Drew Smyly, Octavio Dotel and Phil Coke held the Giants off until the 10th, but Detroit could never score the additional run needed to win it before extra innings.Coke struck out the side in the ninth but gave up the winning hit an inning later."I apologize to our fans. I did the best I could and we did the best we could. It just wasn't enough," Coke said. "I'm incredibly proud of this team, and anyone who has a negative thing to say, shame on you. I hate having LP' (losing pitcher) next to my name in a World Series game, but I did everything I could."

Giants lineup: Ruggiano moves up against lefty Lester

Giants lineup: Ruggiano moves up against lefty Lester

Bruce Bochy and Joe Maddon issued their lineups for Game 2 of the four-game series in Chicago:

Giants (20-26)
1. Joe Panik (L) 2B
2. Christian Arroyo (R) 3B
3. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Justin Ruggiano (R) RF
6. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
7. Eduardo Nunez (R) LF
8. Gorkys Hernandez (R) CF
9. Johnny Cueto (R) P (4-3, 4.50 ERA)

Cubs (22-21)
1. Ben Zobrist (S) 2B
2. Kyle Schwarber (L) LF
3. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
4. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
5. Ian Happ (S) CF
6. Jason Heyward (L) RF
7. Willson Contreras (R) C
8. Addison Russell (R) SS
9. Jon Lester (L) P (2-2, 3.57 ERA)

Seventeen narratives to tide you over until Game 1 of the NBA Finals

Seventeen narratives to tide you over until Game 1 of the NBA Finals

It’s time once again to play, “Narrate That Narrative,” with your increasingly weary hosts, the Golden State Warriors.
 
And we say increasingly weary because, in playing 12 games (slightly less than 29 hours of elapsed time) in 46 days (slightly more than 1,100 hours of real time), the Warriors have spent far more time engaging, rejecting, advancing and goofing with narratives than they have with actual ball-related duties.
 
You know, the idiotic side stories with a two-day shelf life until someone serves up a new narrative, because after all, sports are really just delivery systems for disposable tales of no enduring value and very little transitory value. I’ve known cheeses left too near a heater than maintained their integrity longer.
 
But with another nine days (eight now, in case your narrative happens to be mindless timekeeping) before Game One of the NBA Finals, all we have is narratives. And yes, for that we can very definitely blame the Warriors, for without their refusal to mix in a devastating loss that really isn’t, we’ve had atomic clocks of time on our hands.
 
So muscle up, kids. This is your future until tipoff.
 
LEGACIES: This is without question the stupidest of them all, because trying to figure out an active athlete’s legacy is one of the most pointless things you can do with yourself. The Warriors will either be a budding dynasty or a one-hit-wonder-in-the-making. They will not be the best team of all time (the 1960s Celtics have that locked away), nor will they be the new Buffalo Bills (who unlike the Warriors tried many times and never won). They will be a team still fashioning their legacies, which as it turns out won’t actually be written accurately for decades.
 
In other words, remember O.J. Simpson’s legacy when he stopped playing football, and think of it now.
 
STEVE KERR: His spinal cord has a worse reputation than Stephen Curry’s ankles, and at this point it seems awfully likely that he will be an interested spectator with an all-access credential for the Finals. Thus, he remains the second best coach in NBA history in winning percentage (.848 if you include playoffs), behind only Not Steve Kerr (92.4).
 
KEVIN DURANT’S DECISION: It was a good one. He’s happy. He’s winning games. He’s wired into the Bay Area business community. Russell Westbrook is a year ago and Oklahoma City is a million miles away. Nothing new here, as there hasn’t been since the last time they played nine weeks ago. This story was old in August, and has been dead since January. Stop.
 
LEBRON JAMES: Is he Michael Jordan? Is he better than Michael Jordan? Does he like to troll people? Is he smug? Is he justifiably proud? All fascinating subjects if you just like making stuff up in your head based on your very limited ability to see inside the souls of others. But hey, you paid your fees just like everyone else. Psychoanalyze away.
 
ZAZA PACHULIA AND BRUCE BOCHY: He has become bigger than Andrew Bogut in Warrior lore because of his ill-placed foot in Game One of the Western Conference Final, and because his head was deemed far too large in Monday’s postgame celebration to accommodate a hat. Now you see how these two are linked?
 
JAVALE MCGEE: More fun than Zaza Pachulia, though dealing with Tristan Thompson will probably mean that his fun will be significantly truncated.
 
ANDRE IGUODALA’S KNEE: That’s not a narrative, that’s an injury report.
 
ANDRE IGUODALA’S DEFENSIVE ASSIGNMENT: See above. If the knee is sound, it will be LeBron James. If not, Draymond Green, David West and whatever else will work.
 
DRAYMOND GREEN’S TEMPER: 21 technical fouls, a flailing foot and a hideously timed suspension a year ago, 16 this year, no suspensions. Plus, only two technicals this postseason. His history remains his history, and he has been both targeted and given some slack depending on the official (he damned near chased Scott Foster down the floor one night this year and Foster patiently eased him off the ledge). He has been a voluble and expressive model citizen as these things go.
 
KLAY THOMPSON: Poor shooting in the San Antonio series has condemned him despite his offensive and defensive ratings both being up from a year ago. It’s a talker if shooting is your deal, but he won’t play any fewer minutes in this series than any of the other 11. His “struggles” are a mild amusement for those who still think trying to force drama on these guys is a useful exercise.
 
STEPHEN CURRY: I give up. Is there anything new to say about him?
 
JOE LACOB GIVING AN INTERVIEW TO THE FINANCIAL TIMES: Quick, everyone head for the shelters.

SCOTT FOSTER: Last year's officiating bete noire, now not even worth a mention. If you need something, the Warriors are 20-0 with Ron Garretson and 17-4 with Ed Malloy in the last three years. Just keep it to yourselves.

PLAYOFF HISTORY: Right now, the Warriors could become the first team to win all 16 postseason games, but even if they don’t, they can still go 16-3, tie the record currently held by the 2005 San Antonios and still have a parade. They did good – as long as they win. If they don’t win, the hell they will pay will be at full retail prices with the usual jewelers’ markup.
 
PLAYOFF BOREDOM: If Cleveland wins, this is the series you all demanded. If Boston wins, you get a surprise. But neither will make us happy because the playoffs weren’t sufficiently entertaining for us. That’s how we do our cultural life now – we reflexively turbo-bitch about something because it keeps us from getting diabetes, or some other excuse. As a result, we are the worst generation so far, and those who come behind us are very likely to be worse unless they can cure themselves soon.
 
LUCK: Yep, lucky again. No Yusuf Nurkic to allow Portland to play at its best. A limited Rudy Gobert to allow Utah to play at its best. No Tony Parker and only 28 minutes of Kawhi Leonard to allow San Antonio to be at its best. They were lucky two years ago as well, and the ring was just as big and the parade just as sunshiny. They weren’t as lucky a year ago (Stephen Curry’s wobbly legs, Draymond Green’s suspension, the auto-asphyxia of the last five minutes of Game Seven of the Finals).
 
In other words, it’s good to put yourself in a position to be lucky. Every champion ever, in every sport, on every continent, they’ve all been lucky. Luck is a compliment not wasted on second-round losers. Deal with it.
 
THE OPINIONS OF OTHERS: There has never been a champion that was universally beloved, with the possible exceptions of Leicester City when it won the Premier League last year, and maybe Secretariat. Every other one ever had critics based on style of play, level of success, arrogance, dismissiveness, bullying, plain geography or just, because . . . well, see “turbo-bitching.” It won’t be that hard. It was two paragraphs ago. Suck it up, scroll your screen and move your eyes.

The point is, one word of criticism from Charles Barkley is somehow louder than reams of glowing reviews. Warrior fans are like all the others in that they demand universal worship of their favorite team, and they hear “just a bunch of jump-shooters” no matter what Barkley actually says at any given moment.
 
See, they don’t have to like your team, and it affects nothing. Stop caring. 
 
There will be more, but these are the main ones that should tide you over until game time, whether it’s the series you want (Cleveland) or the series you never expected (Boston). We’re all very sorry if we couldn’t make it the New York Knicks, or LaVar Ball, just to name two narratives you won't have to deal with in the coming days.