We gave you final thoughts before the game, so I figure this is obligatory.
1. Justin Verlander IS building that legend. The guy didn’t have much in the way of success in 2006 (as a rookie) or 2011, with ERAs over 5.00 – but he more than made up for it tonight. The handful of times the A’s threatened, they threatened with two outs. Verlander dominated: much of the time the A’s didn’t bother to swing, when they did they mostly failed to make contact or hit weak at’em grounders and pop-ups.
2. It’s hard to hate Jim Leyland when he isn’t forced to make any hard decisions. Verlander made it through 9 without approaching his season high in pitches. The decision “do we bring in Valverde?” never had to be made. With a substantial lead (and Verlander on the mound) there was no incentive to pinch-hit or pinch-run in the late innings. We’ll never need to wonder why he pinch hit so-and-so for so-and-so, and I’m glad.
3. The rest of the lineup isn’t all that bad. Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder did very little tonight, and the Tigers still scored 6 and are still heading for the ALCS – isn’t that something everybody told you couldn’t happen? The #1 hero tonight? #9 man Omar Infante, who got on base 3 times and scored 2 runs.
4. What’s with the low attendance? The Oakland Athletics play in a cavernous stadium. That “cavernous” is often used as derogatory term when the subject of a new stadium (in San Jose) is is raised. The whole upper tier of what is really a football stadium is closed off and the A’s drew only 36,393 to the ultimate game 5. Those fans that showed were obviously passionate about the team and the game, but why couldn’t they have made room for more? If they had made the World Series, would they have opened up those sections? I believe every game of the 1968 World Series had more than 50,000 fans in attendance. I understand that Oakland has trouble drawing fans, but still…
5. Poor Brandon Inge. On so many levels… I’m sure I don’t need to explain.
This will all be covered in great detail tomorrow as the Tigers have an off-day Friday before starting up the ALCS against the winner of tomorrows New-York-Baltimore game 5. Enjoy this moment, we Tigers fans don’t get this kind of thing every year.