What started out to be a moderately promising ALCS Game 6 for the Detroit Tigers got real ugly, and real awful, real quick.
I’m a big proponent of the “Scoreboard.” That’s what beats you, not necessarily the other elements. But the Texas Rangers had a flood of offense in the 3rd inning, helped by a couple of questionable calls. Nelson Cruz had a check swing that appeared to be enough to be called strike 3, but instead was called a ball. Cruz would get on. An apparent force out at second was still called safe, it would load the bases. In the end, a 9-run third inning that would ultimately lead to the demise of the Detroit Tigers.
Though it wasn’t close, and almost too hard to watch. A 15-5 final score, sending the Rangers to the World Series. And the depressing thought of the Tigers offseason begins.
Ultimately though, offensive deficiencies, fatigue, injuries and some horrible pitching (at times) have brought this season to a bitter end, of course, prematurely in the eyes of Tigers fans.
But hard not to credit the Texas Rangers offense. New Tigers killer Nelson Cruz absolutely murdered Tigers pitching, and made some nice defensive plays too. If you have that guy batting seventh in your lineup, your offense is just fine. The whole lineup is scary, and when they have the momentum that they do, they’ll be hard to stop. The Tigers proved that they just couldn’t keep up.
Oblique injuries to Delmon Young and Victor Martinez weren’t ultimate killers for the Tigers offense, but it hurt them in the field. Young’s inability to come up as a clean fielder when healthy was made worse by the fact he couldn’t field or throw well in left field.
Alex Avila, probably the most oft-dinged player, is in need of some serious R&R after this season. Reported bad knees, balls fouled off of him, too many games have probably made him extra-fatigued. His offense in the postseason has been non-exsistent.
But in the end, the (much) better team won. Timely hitting, pitching, anything… is what won this series for the Rangers. Ultimately, the frustration that can be felt amongst all Tigers fans is because of all of that. Sure, we want our team to win, but they didn’t play like they deserved it. They played like a team who got hurt, tired, ineffective. The better team moves on, which is what usually happens. The better team beat the Yankees, and the better team beat the Tigers.
The team will have a few questions to address in the offseason, though now isn’t the time to worry about that. We can lament the fate the Tigers ended the season with, or we can realize that they still had a moderately successful run, despite the outcome. They will contend again next year. Hopefully they can learn and adapt… or at the very least, stay really, really healthy.