Over the last four games, the Tigers have not played their best baseball. Justin Verlander had another shaky performance in game one. Placido Polanco still doesn't have a hit in the World Series. The pitchers have made four defensive errors. In the must win game four, the Tigers stranded nine runners.
Make no mistake about it, through four games, the Tigers have been outplayed in every phase of the game by the Cardinals. The Cards have come up with more timely hits, have gotten better pitching (from both their rotation and their bullpen), and avoided costly errors that led directly to runs in three of the four games.
But that doesn't change the fact that the Cardinals first took the lead on Thursday evening because centerfielder Curtis Granderson lost his footing, and took the lead for good when a ball went off the tip of outfielder Craig Monroe's glove. And in turn, the ‘scrappy' David Eckstein will get the reputation as a clutch hitter, not because he actually came up big, but because he recorded a pair of doubles on the aforementioned plays.
But the Tigers have no room to complain; at some point, their luck was bound to run out. In eight postseason games leading up to the World Series, they had a 7-1 record, averaging 5.5 runs per game; a half run better than their season average, and allowing less than three runs per game, a full run lower than the season average.
Of course, a large part of that had to do with the clubs the Tigers played. The Tigers always played well against mediocre pitching and lineups that were susceptible to power pitching.
How lucky the Tigers were to get to face a Yankee pitching staff that featured Chien Ming Wang and a group of aging/underachieving starters. Facing the supposed greatest lineup in the history of baseball did nothing but set up the group for failure – a group while immensely talented, didn't like each other, nor did they enjoy playing together.
Which led the Tigers to Oakland, and a lineup that at the end of the day, couldn't come up with a clutch hit if their life depended on it – their incredibly low season average indicated that would happen. But 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position in game one? That's nothing more than bad luck for the A's, and good luck for the Tigers.
Magglio Ordonez's walk off home run may have been a blast – but his first home run that tied the game in the sixth inning of game four just barely snuck over the fence and inside the pole. A little more good luck for the Tigers there.
And so, after two series (or maybe a whole season – remember; no major injuries, a breakout rookie starter, a resurging veteran ace), it's clear that lady luck has abandoned the club on the biggest stage in the game.
That doesn't mean that the ending of the World Series is a foregone conclusion. But only six teams have come back from 3-1 deficits to win the Fall Classic, and if the Tigers are going to become the 7th, they're going to have to do it with spectacular pitching and a few clutch hits.
Because one thing is for sure; the Tigers luck has run out.