Two more wins, and the Detroit Tigers can clinch the American League (AL) title this week and head to the 2012 World Series.
In this town, one has to be basically 35 years old and up to really remember the Tigers of 1984 and the last World Series championship for Detroit. Winning it again would not only be special for the community after all it’s been through, but extra special for all the young fans and young adults who have grown up never experiencing the mountain top.
After stopping the New York Yankees in the first two games of the ALCS, winning both at Yankee Stadium, Tiger ace Justin Verlander can move the Tigers one step closer in Game 3, Tuesday night, at 8pm, in Comerica Park. He lines up against Yankees righty Phil Hughes. Verlander has won both his postseason appearances, going 2-0 with 22 strikeouts, allowing 1 run in 16 innings against Oakland. Hughes gets the start on regular rest, five days after he delivered a strong ALDS outing against Baltimore. Hughes allowed one run in 6 2/3 innings in a no decision. Game 4 will pit Yankees ace CC Sabathia against Tigers strikeout artist, Max Scherzer.
With the Yankees struggling at the plate, and facing a red hot Verlander, a Yankees comeback doesn’t appear likely. However, if there’s one theme ringing throughout the baseball postseason this year, it’s the improbable comeback. If you’ve been watching, you know, but just consider Tigers closer Jose Valverde’s last two outings, plus a host of other late inning playoff collapses around baseball, and no lead is safe. Not even a two game lead.
A two game lead on the Yankees is especially never safe. If any team in any sport has shown the incredible ability to come back, it’s the New York Yankees. Consider their 4-run rally against Valverde in the first game, or Raul Ibanez hitting tying and walk-off HRs against Baltimore last week. Consider historically, all the late inning dramatic comebacks. Consider the 1978 and 1996 World Series, when they dropped the first two games before winning 4 straight.
One hallmark of the Tigers’ season — it hasn’t ever been as smooth as it could have been. A sweep would be sweet, but the Tigers have a propensity for more drama than they or we might want.
Every time this season when surging to pass the White Sox, the Tigers gave up first place almost immediately. It wasn’t til the end of the season, when the White Sox fell apart, that the Tigers held on to clinch the division. Then as throughout the season, the Tigers gave up their advantage in Game 4 against the A’s, and in Game 1 against the Yankees.
Even against the best postseason starting rotation, expect the Yankees not to go quietly. This series is more than likely going to continue with exciting and tight ballgames like the first two, provide surprise outcomes, and give us all a rollercoaster of a week. We’re watching something we’ll always remember, young and old alike.
But, the Yankees still have to win 4 of 5 games to take the Tigers. If Detroit, winners in 8 of 10 to end the regular season, and owning a 5-2 postseason mark gets a couple more gems from its starters, then World Series here we come.
Did someone say there’s a presidential debate on TV Tuesday? We’ll catch the replay.