The team with the AL's best record was sunk by a great offensive team and a narrative they couldn't escape.
If there’s one annoying thing about being a baseball fan, in my experience, it’s dealing with the expectation of narratives. Baseball, especially over a long 162-game season, has such a granular quality that defining any team with a sentence or two glosses over so much as to be barely descriptive. You get the feeling, as a fan, that the way the media, other fans, heck even your own family understands your local team is so detached from reality as to be barely recognizable. You’re telling me the team I’ve lived and died with since April chokes in big spots, or doesn’t have the pitching they need for October, or needs more pop to really succeed in a short series? Hoo boy, we’re going to have to settle in for a long talk about how wrong you are!
Can the Indians overcome their beat-up rotation? Can the Red Sox offense carry them?
This should be a pretty fun series. The Red Sox are up against their old manager, their old “high-leverage specialist” and their old first basemen. The Indians are up against the best offense in baseball and one of the best postseason performers of all time. And also against some very good dances.
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Texas deals David Price another postseason defeat, but was this a pyrrhic victory for the Rangers?
Game One of the American League Division Series between the Rangers and the Blue Jays was about losses. The Blue Jays lost home-field advantage, the Rangers lost one of their best players, and the postseason lost its streak of one-sided affairs.
An eight-run inning turned the opener into a Baltimore romp.
The first two games of the postseason provided us a back-and-forth slugfest and one-sided boat race. Thursday's series-opening tilt between the Tigers and Orioles contained elements of both. Through the first seven and a half innings, the largest lead enjoyed by either team was two runs. Then the O's struck for eight runs, depriving us of a nail-biting finish, and validating Tigers fans' collective fears.
For the second straight year, a vintage Justin Verlander shows up for the decisive game of a Tigers-A's ALDS.
It wasn’t the season that the Tigers mapped out for Justin Verlander. The undisputed king of the pitching world in 2011 was no worse than runner-up in 2012, when Clayton Kershaw made it clear that he deserved to be in any conversation about the best in baseball. But by the end of the 2013 season, Verlander had undisputedly ceded the throne to Kershaw and seemingly even lost the torch as the bona fide no. 1 on his own team in light of the emergence of Max Scherzer.
The A's even the series behind young rookie Sonny Gray and old man rookie Stephen Vogt.
Sonny Gray was sitting on the stage, taking questions, with a little mustache that Derek Holland would have made fun of and a voice that has never once been mistaken on the phone for his dad’s. A guy in a suit says “last question,” and about then Justin Verlander quietly walks into the room for his turn on stage. Verlander is showered, dressed, cologned. He’s wearing this suit,
Cabrera's hip, Scherzer's curve, Peralta's GIFfability and MLB.com's headline.
Sometimes you just need to be with family. Nothing against your friends--who, most of the time, are more fun to be around--and nothing against a night alone watching The Shield (sometimes you need that, too), but family is different. Family knew you when you were 4 years old, and when you’re around people who knew you when you were 4 years old there’s really no point acting like you’re more sophisticated or impressive than you are. You’re still the kid who wet his pants because he didn’t know how to unlatch his overalls quickly. There’s something freeing about being able to be that kid, not the adult you dumbly aspire to be.
Does Detroit's rotation make up for Oakland's other advantages?
For months, our daily Playoff Odds have given the Tigers the best chance—by a pretty wide margin—of winning the World Series. For most of the season, that was because they were the team with the easiest path to the postseason, but even now they stand above the rest. The reason is simple: The Tigers have won a lot of games, but should have won even more, according to run differential; and their run differential should be even higher than it is, according to third-order metrics. They’ve been a top-tier offense while having undoubtedly the league’s best pitching. Four of the top nine FIPs in the AL are in their rotation. Playing in a traditionally soft division hasn’t kept them from pushing to get better, and the investments they’ve made in recent years—massive extensions for Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander, big contracts for free agents Prince Fielder and Anibal Sanchez, and relatively heavy expenditures on bullpen help—have all worked out, so far.