By Ashley Dunkak
COMERICA PARK (CBS DETROIT) – Some losses sting more than others, and the last two losses by the Detroit Tigers fit in categories that rank among the worst.
First, in Game 2 of the ALCS in Boston, the Tigers blew a 5-1 advantage in the eighth inning and muffed a chance to go into a three-game home stretch with a 2-0 lead in the series.
In Game 3 in Detroit, the Tigers could not put up a single run to help out starter Justin Verlander, who after a rough regular season looked startlingly similar to the form that won him the Cy Young and MVP in 2011.
Both losses came by a single run. Statistically speaking, Detroit should not be far removed at all from a 3-0 lead in the series. Then again, Boston could say the same. The Tigers have scored six runs in the series, while the Red Sox have managed seven. One run each game is the difference between winning and losing.
Everyone in the clubhouse answers about the same way when asked how they let go of these achingly close losses. The response is always two-fold. For one, they get over it because they have to. Secondly, they get to try again tomorrow.
“If you’re thinking about a loss too much, then I don’t think you’re really preparing yourself for the next game knowing that you’ve got to leave it all out there on the field for the next game,” center fielder Austin Jackson said. “It’s just like any other game. You have to forget about it. You do your best to, anyways. You’re not going to be prepared or focused on the next game if you’re still dwelling on losses.”
Surely, though, not all losses are created equal. Some must take more time or effort or acceptance than others. Catcher Alex Avila pauses for a moment before answering.
“Game 2 was tough,” Avila acquiesced, “but today, it was a great baseball game. I’m not upset at all at how we played. We played great, Justin pitched great. We had some really good at bats. Their pitchers didn’t make any mistakes.”
Right fielder Torii Hunter said not letting the losses bite too much is just part of the job.
“You can think about it and try to make adjustments, but you don’t dwell on that,” Hunter said. “You don’t say it hurts. You just don’t do that.”
“It’s hard for me to explain to a civilian,” Hunter added with a smile.
Just as when they trailed two games to one against the Oakland A’s in the ALDS, the Tigers sound confident they can bounce back. They did it then, after all, so it is hardly a foreign challenge.
“We were in this predicament last week,” Hunter said. “We don’t feel any pressure. It’s good for those guys to be 2-1. We’d rather be 2-1, trust me, but I think we’re going to turn the page.”