Friday, October 11, 2013

Verlander takes down Oakland again as Tigers Advance

Detroit Tigers (3) at Oakland Athletics (0) - Tigers win series 3-2

Justin Verlander did it again to the Oakland Athletics. Almost exactly one year to the day he shutout the A’s in Game 5 of the 2012 ALDS, Verlander tossed eight shutout innings allowing just two hits as the Detroit Tigers advanced to the American League Championship Series against the Boston Red Sox.

Verlander outdueled rookie Sonny Gray with his full arsenal of pitches working. Verlander threw 111 pitches, 76 for strikes and recorded 10 strikeouts along the way. Verlander held the A’s scoreless for 15 innings in the series, giving up just six hits and two walks with 21 Ks. It seems as though the former AL MVP and Cy Young winner has regained his stuff at the right time.

Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera hit a two-run homer in the top half of the fourth providing Verlander with all the run support he needed. It was Cabrera's first home run since Sept. 17.

Gray was not quite as impressive as he was in Game 2 when he held the Tigers scoreless for eight innings. This time around he looked like the big stage was affecting his ability to stay in the strike zone.

The Tigers reached the ALCS for the third straight season, the first team to pull that off since the 1998-2001 New York Yankees.

Series Notes:

  • Victor Martinez collected three more hits in Game 5 and finished 9-for-20 in the series.
  • The rest of the Tigers hit just .204 for the series.
  • Brandon Moss was 2-for-18 in the series and struck out 13 times.
  • Coco Crisp and Yoenis Cespedes each had OPS over 1.000 for the series.
  • Josh Donaldson, who hit .301/.384/.499 over the regular season, went .143/.182/.143 in the ALDS.
  • The Tigers pitchers, the MLB regular season leaders in strikeouts (1428), put up a whopping 57 strikeouts over 44 innings in the series.
  • The Tigers named Anibal Sanchez the Game 1 starter against Boston.

My League Championship Series previews will be published separately later today.

Tigers’ logo courtesy of