Jose Valverde and Detroit Tigers fans would like to forget Game 1 of the ALCS versus the New York Yankees. Valverde blew a save opportunity after Doug Fister went 6.1 innings and gave the Tigers a lead in the series. Lucky for Valverde and Tigers fans, the team’s strong pitching throughout the rest of the series, including extra innings in game one, has clinched a World Series birth for the Tigers.
Max Scherzer pitched a gem in game four, giving up only one earned run, and striking out 10 batters. Scherzer took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, and eventually gave up two hits before coming out in that inning. Scherzer finished off a successful series that saw all four starting Tigers pitch great efforts. Here is a look at the games:
- Game 1: Doug Fister – 6.1 innings, 5 K, 0 earned runs
- Game 2: Anibal Sanchez – 7 innings, 7 K, 0 earned runs
- Game 3: Justin Verlander – 8.1 innings, 3 K, 1 earned run
- Game 4: Max Scherzer – 5.2 innings, 10 K, 1 earned run
All of the starting pitchers recorded wins against the Yankees, with Fister being the exception. Game one needed extra innings after Valverde’s blown effort. Relief pitcher Drew Smyly recorded the win in the 12th inning.
Aside from Valverde, the relief pitchers have also been stellar for the Tigers. Phil Coke has turned into a Playoffs hero with two saves and zero runs given up in the ALCS. Coke earned the nickname Coke Zero from his efforts for the Tigers. Other relievers Smyly, Octavio Dotel, and Joaquin Benoit pitched key innings to complete games.
The Tigers pitching efforts allowed the team to win games easily without putting up an unreasonable amount of runs. The Yankees managed to get only six runs off of Tigers pitchers in the ALCS, with four of those coming from former closing pitcher Valverde. The Yankees managed to put up runs in only three innings out of thirty nine played in the series. The Yankees poor hitting combined with strong pitching by the Tigers led the Yankees to hit only .152 in the series.
The Yankees never had a lead in the ALCS against the Tigers. The last time a team never had a lead in a LCS was 1984. Coincidentally, 1984 was the last time the Tigers won the World Series. The Tigers now have five days off before they will face the winner of the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants in the NLCS.