The Detroit Tigers couldn't overcome giving up only 2 runs on a Nelson Cruz home run which may have been one of the cheapest home runs in the history of the playoffs. It barely cleared the 330 foot sign in right field by the foul pole, and the fan who tried to catch it failed and let it drop to the ground. He was a Tigers’ fan who didn't want it anyway. While the Tigers cut the Orioles’ lead to 2 to 1 with back-to-back doubles by the hitters Martinez (Victor and J.D), Baltimore closer Zach Britton shut the door by inducing a game and series ending double play hit into by pinch hitter Hernan Perez. It was a crushing loss for the Tigers who expect to lose at least pitcher Max Scherzer and designated hitter Victor Martinez to free agency this off season.
A lot of analysts were shocked by these sweeps. The Tigers and Orioles series was a good one, but the Orioles’ starting pitching was a bit better than the Tigers’. Also, an ineffective Justin Verlander did not help the Tigers’ less-than-stellar bullpen out. Bud Norris was masterful for the Orioles until a walk in the seventh brought manager Buck Showalter to the mound. He then brought in the lefty Andrew Miller who got 5 big outs, setting up the ninth for closer Zach Britton and his nerve wracking save.
This means that the team with the best record in the major leagues was just defeated by an upstart wild card team, and the powerhouse Tigers fell victim to the flaws that almost cost them the division this season. Meanwhile, an Angels offense that carried the team for quite a while fell victim to a better than advertised royals pitching staff.
Now we go to the American League Championship Series next week, starting at Eutaw Street and Camden Yards in Baltimore. The best of seven series hopefully will be a good one. I pick the Orioles in six games, but with the great baseball that the Royals have been playing, it could go either way.