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Tigers’ fortunes hinge on Justin Verlander

Oct 11, 2012, 1:43 AM EDT

Justin Verlander Getty Images

Justin Verlander‘s Game 1 start against the A’s was easily the best of his postseason career. In allowing one run  over seven innings, he picked up his fourth win in nine starts and lowered his October ERA from 5.57 to 4.96.

Now one wonders if he might need to be even better in Thursday’s decisive Game 5.

The Tigers simply aren’t doing much scoring. They’ve totaled 11 runs while splitting the first four games against the A’s. Three of those came on Oakland errors. In all, they’ve had eight extra-base hits, which is the same number the Giants had against the Reds on Wednesday alone.

Add to that the fact that the eighth and ninth inning guys have been a mess. Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde have combined to allow five runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings in the series. They also amassed a 5.59 ERA in 27 1/3 innings during September.

Ideally, Verlander will just go the full nine in outdueling rookie Jarrod Parker. He’s never done it in the postseason, but he had six complete games during the regular season this year.

Anything less and the Tigers are in big trouble. It seems nearly unfathomable that the A’s will rough up Verlander, but as we’ve seen the last two days, they don’t need to do much scoring to win.

  1. darthicarus - Oct 11, 2012 at 7:19 AM

    I think Verlander will try too hard tonight to go the distance and he’ll end up costing himself some pitches early on. After the first two games in Detroit things looked to be going great though the lack of offense was off-set by the fact they won the games. Now playing in the pumpkin turned into a carriage out in Oakland I feel this Cinderella story is going to continue for the A’s.

    Of course, I was ready to throw the towel in on the Tigers even making the postseason at the beginning of September so who knows what’ll happen tonight. I blame the time difference…and that assclown Jose Valverde.

  2. papichulo55 - Oct 11, 2012 at 7:50 AM

    If the Tigers get beat with Verlander on the mound, Cabrera and Fielder at the plate, and one of the best managers in the dugout, then just tip your hats to Oakland.

    The Tigers are going into battle with their best weapons loaded and cocked. What else you want? Kaline in right?

    • kalinedrive - Oct 11, 2012 at 11:52 AM

      Kaline would have picked up the ball and had a play at the plate at the end.

  3. hojo20 - Oct 11, 2012 at 8:21 AM

    Man, I wish this game was on earlier.

  4. Jason @ IIATMS - Oct 11, 2012 at 8:36 AM

    Vegas style… Verlander’s pitchcount line is 120 pitches. You taking the OVER or UNDER?

    • Alex K - Oct 11, 2012 at 8:57 AM

      Over. He would have to get roughed up pretty bad to go less than that.

    • jayscarpa - Oct 11, 2012 at 11:43 AM

      Over

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