Posted: Monday October 23, 2006 3:12AM; Updated: Tuesday October 24, 2006 2:07AM
Craig Monroe has homered in both World Series games for the Tigers.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
"I was stressed [in the ninth], but I'm always stressed," said Rogers, who watched the whole inning unfold -- or nearly unravel, as it turned out -- from the Tigers' dugout. "It wasn't the sharpest, but you know what? He got the job done."
That late-game drama was merely secondary in Game 2, though, a mere subplot. The game's primary storyline centered on Rogers, a man, by the way, who has seen his share of drama in an 18-year career. Early in the game, TV cameras showed the lefty with a strange, dark substance on his pitching hand.
Pine tar, perhaps? Some other sinister, pitch-altering substance? How else could anyone explain the fact that Rogers, who had a 8.85 postseason ERA coming into this October, was in the middle of a 23-inning scoreless streak this postseason? If such a substance were found, Rogers would have been subject to immediate ejection from the game.
Instead, umpires ruled that the substance was "some dirt or whatever", Rogers wiped whatever it was off -- he said it was a clump of "rosin and dirt and all that stuff" picked up in the bullpen before the game -- and he continued to twirl another masterpiece, giving up just two hits in eight innings. He has thrown three straight shutouts this postseason, against the Yankees, A's and, now, the Cardinals.
The conspiracy theories, of course, raged on.
Amid all the controversy and pitching excellence in these two games have been a few stellar hitters, too. Tigers left fielder Craig Monroe homered in both games. Detroit first baseman Carlos Guillen had three hits in Game 2 to bring his postseason average to .432. Rolen, the sore-shouldered Cardinals third baseman, had two hits Sunday and is now 4-for-8 in the Series.
And, yes, this Series is tied now, 1-1, as it moves to St. Louis' Busch Stadium for Game 3, scheduled for Tuesday night.
It's not a Classic yet, this Series between the wild-card Tigers and the 83-win Cards. With a few games left to play, it may never be. It could turn, very quickly, the other way.
But, so far, it's not the dog we all expected either, is it?