It was star power that seemed to be the deciding factor against the Athletics. Many have said that Oakland lacks the star players that Detroit has but in game 5, it actually had an impact. The Tigers won 3-0 on the backs of Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera. The Tigers are the first team to reach the ALCS in three consecutive years since the Yankees from 1998-2001.
Justin Verlander was untouchable in this series. He prevented the Athletics from scoring in both of his starts. Verlander now has the postseason record for consecutive scoreless innings in the playoffs against one team. The streak of 30 innings dates back to game one of last year’s ALDS where Coco Crisp hit a leadoff home run.
Miguel Cabrera was able to hit his first homerun since September 17th. The homerun was Cabrera’s only hit of the night but it ended up being the most important hit for the Tigers. While it’s clear that Cabrera’s play has suffered recently due to injury, he is still the most dangerous hitter in the game. After this game, I expect Cabrera to heat up against Boston.
Josh Donaldson struggled for the A’s in this series. He went 3 for 21 with 8 strikeouts and no extra base hits. The .143 average was way down from his regular season .301. Some people have stated that he should win the MVP. This suggestion is laughable when you compare his 24 homeruns and 93 Rbi’s to Cabrera’s 44 homeruns, 137 RBI’s and .348 average.
Jhonny Peralta was given the start at shortstop in Game 5. His bat was a major difference maker in this series. His three run homer in game 4 kept the Tigers alive. He was 5 for 12 in the series with five RBI’s. It would not be a stretch to say that if the Tigers had not brought him back from suspension they would have been eliminated.
The Tigers will now play the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS. It will be the first time in history that the two teams meet in the playoffs. The Tigers will need their starting pitchers to continue to produce if they want to advance. Also, if the Tiger bats continue their lack of production they will struggle. I predict that the Tigers will be able to put it together and win the series in 5.
Game 1, Saturday, Oct. 12: At Boston, 8:00 pm (Anibal Sanchez vs. Jon Lester)
Game 2, Sunday, Oct. 13: At Boston, 8:00 pm
Game 3, Tuesday, Oct. 15: At Detroit, 4:00 pm
Game 4, Wednesday, Oct. 16: At Detroit, 8:00 pm
Game 5, Thursday, Oct. 17 (if necessary): At Detroit, 8:00 pm
Game 6, Saturday, Oct. 19 (if necessary): At Boston, 4:30 pm
Game 7, Sunday, Oct. 20 (if necessary): At Boston, 8:00 pm