The last of four excellent Division Series ended on Thursday night with a bravura pitching performance by Detroit’s Justin Verlander.
For the sixth times in seven tries in the Division Series era, the Oakland Athletics season ends short of the League Championship round.
This wasn’t an upset. Even though the Athletics had home field advantage because of a better season record, the Tigers were built for a short series, particularly a five-game series.
Just getting to the postseason is an accomplishment. The Atlanta Braves (one World Series win in 18 postseason visits since 1991) should be admired. It’s a record the Orioles or the A’s would like to envy.
Detroit and Boston meet for the first time in the postseason. It’s the fourth time in the postseason for the Tigers in the eight years Jim Leyland has managed them, and his eighth time in the postseason.
Verlander was brilliant against Oakland, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning, and along with Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez and Doug Fister gives Detroit a formidable four starters.
With the Dodgers and Cardinals meeting for the fifth time in the postseason, it seems both familiar and new. It’s the first time for the Dodgers under their dynamic new ownership. For one of the grand old franchises of the major leagues, it’s hard to believe they haven’t been to the World Series in 25 years.
The Los Angeles-St. Louis series begins tonight while Detroit-Boston starts on Saturday.
After a playoff game, two interesting wild-card games and four compelling Division Series games, I hope that I’ll have to come up with some new adjectives to describe the League Championship Series.