A month ago Detroit Tigers fans were certain their favorite, yet scuffling, team would miss the playoffs. And now they are headed to the World Series for the 2nd time in seven years under Jim Leyland.
All season long the mantra preached on this website was one of patience, just hope they make the playoffs, and once they do anything can happen from there. And now we’ve seen how nicely that can play out.
The Tigers needed all five games to wipe out the pesky A’s who came into the ALDS packing a ton of mojo. A combination of horrid Yankee bats and otherworldly pitching from the Tigers in the ALCS granted the Motor City a frenzied sweep over the Evil Empire, who looked anything but evil.
In fact, I had to urge some fans to stop booing them during Game 4, and instead cheer them for their helpful compliance throughout the series. I, for one, LOVE these Yankees. What a wonderful team full of guys who just wanted to help make sure they Tigers had little difficulty advancing to the World Series. Much obliged. Enjoy your winter.
The stats have been bantered about for a while now. The Tigers pitching was absolutely sensational. The Yankees, meanwhile, set the all-time batting average futility mark in a playoff series – for any team, ever.
To watch the celebration unfold near 2nd base last night was perfect. One big, happy family enjoying the moment, as they should.
But in this time of political posturing and some big vote I keep hearing about coming up, it’s not “4 more years” that are being chanted around Detroit, but “4 more wins”. Make no mistake, the Detroit Tigers have one goal this season and it has yet to be accomplished.
All indications are that the Tigers will play the St. Louis Cardinals yet again in the World Series. This will mark the 4th time the two teams have met for baseball’s most coveted prize. In 2006 it was the Cards who stole the show from Detroit. That matchup saw the Tigers’ bats cool off dramatically during a 6-day layover after sweeping the A’s in the ALCS. And the fielding, mainly by the pitching staff, fell apart and hurt the Tigers badly. In the end, it took St. Louis just 5 games to seal the Series.
6 years later the Tigers are back, and this time they are poised to take it all. Nobody has ever seen pitching like this and the hitting has suddenly been timely and clutch. Winning close games, something that the Tigers couldn’t figure out in the regular season, is now the norm. Things just feel right. Like destiny.
But the St. Louis Cardinals have been destiny’s child lately. They have become October’s team. Whether they sneak into the playoffs on the strength of an 83-win regular season or come in guns a’blazin’, they are a team to be reckoned with.
I’d be shocked if they don’t take out the Giants sooner than later setting up a rematch with Detroit. They probably possess one of the most American League-like lineups in the NL. Don’t get used to the shutouts or 1-run games by the opposition because the Cardinals will score on the Tigers.
Detroit has gotten some very clutch contributions from Delmon Young (ALCS MVP), Jhonny Peralta, and Austin Jackson. If Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder can rise to the occasion and dominate for a brief stretch of time that might be all the Tigers need in order to get it done.
Just imagine this scene: it’s Game 7 of the World Series and the Tigers are up 3-2 in the bottom of the 9th. Enter Jose Valverde (don’t dismiss it, I’d be more surprised if Leyland doesn’t give him another shot) to pitch to the team that just refuses to take a knockout punch. He may need to get the Tigers those final 3 outs to clinch the title.
Can you imagine anything more gut-wrenching and dramatic than that? I have a hunch the fun is just getting started.