October 10, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) delivers a pitch against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning in game five of the American League divisional series playoff baseball game at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
A full recap will be coming later, but but for now let’s just enjoy the celebration. It wasn’t a perfect game, it wasn’t a no-hitter, it wasn’t a shutout, and it wasn’t even a complete game (though it was very nearly all of those things), but Justin Verlander could hardly have been more brilliant in his eight scoreless innings in Game 5 in Oakland on Thursday night.
10 strikeouts, two hits, and one walk was his line as his dominance over the Oakland Athletics just kept rolling. He allowed a solo home run to Coco Crisp to lead off the first inning in Game 1 of the ALDS a year ago, but since then it’s been 30 scoreless postseason innings against the A’s.
We were concerned with Verlander all season — he wasn’t “himself” — but he’s been as good as it gets this October (15 IP, 0 ER), and this is when it all counts. Still a long way to go for a World Series, but a third-straight ALCS appearance is sweet enough for me the moment.
Anibal Sanchez is scheduled to go for Detroit on Saturday night in Boston for Game 1 of the ALCS.