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.
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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.
Forecasting what might be the best of an outstanding group of first-round series.
Thanks to the stipulation in the latest playoff format that says intradivisional division series are kosher, the 2013 playoffs have now given us a second one, and a very intriguing series. The Red Sox went 12-7 this season against the Rays and took the division, and as a reward, they have the home-field advantage with the Rays’ rotation slightly out of whack.
Ian spent three games with a press credential covering the Oakland A's in the ALDS—his first postseason in the press box. Previously: Game Three, and Game Four. Today: meeting Peter Gammons, imagining "what-if," and saying goodbye after Game Five.
We don’t get a true summer in the Bay Area. May to August is just a stretch of perfect days in the 60s and 70s. Mornings are shrouded by fog that burns off mid-morning, so it’s warm (but not overly so) until the fog rolls back in at night.
I’d been nursing a nasty cold for a week or so. It started in my head, but had migrated to my chest. I don’t like to take drugs—I’m a teetotaller, truth be told—but I’d resorted to DayQuil and cough syrup just to be able to get out of bed. It makes the walk across the footbridge from BART to the Coliseum something of an adventure—my steps unreliable, I felt like I was gliding rather than walking.
Ian finds his postseason press pass takes him places he never expected to go.
The first of three parts.
I jumped out of an airplane once. I was falling at 120 mph at 14,000 feet (then 13,000, now 12,000) and I was perfectly calm. My small simian brain had no frame of reference for what was going on, so it didn’t even register what was happening as a threat to my safety.
The Yankees finally drive a stake into the heart of the Orioles behind another strong effort from CC Sabathia. Ben breaks down the series inside.
One night after the American League’s other surprise team saw its season brought to end by Justin Verlander, the Orioles suffered the same fate courtesy of CC Sabathia. If you’re a Yankees or Tigers fan (or an executive at TBS or FOX), you’re probably pleased with the way things turned out. If you’re anyone else, you might be mourning the underdogs. Like the A’s, the Orioles pushed their opponent to the brink: all told, the Yankees outscored the O’s by just four runs in 23 head-to-head games this season. But in the end, the better team advanced.