DETROIT (CBS Detroit) TV cameras panned to Justin Verlander throughout the ALCS series with the Red Sox, where the ace cheered and grimaced in the dugout through the games following three stellar playoffs appearances where he went seven or eight innings per game and allowed just a handful of hits.
He would have been the starting pitcher in game seven if the Tigers had managed to push the series that far — but they didn’t. And in the locker room after the Red Sox fought their way to the World Series, Verlander seemed to find some victory in a big defeat
“Obviously, I wanted a chance, you know, that’s what you’re hoping for, you’re hoping, obviously you’re down 3-2, you’re hoping to tie it and get a chance at a game 7,” he said. “I felt confident the way I’ve been throwing the ball lately and obviously wanted the opportunity.”
Verlander struggled with uneven performances through much of the regular season. Was the season itself an opportunity lost for the team — and himself?
“I don’t look back at the season with any regret, for me personally, I think the whole season was a grind for me and I told you guys that I was going to figure it out for the playoffs and I did,” Verlander said. “That was not easy for me, it was a lot of work that went into that, and I’m happy I was able to do that.”
“As far as losing, obviously if you don’t win it all, I mean I think there’s always a little it of regret looking back at it,” he said.
He noted this is the Tigers third year in a row making it to the playoffs, which, he said, “is pretty impressive in and of itself.”
What will it take for the team to finally go all the way?
“That’s a question for Dave (Dombrowski),” Verlander said. “I felt like we put ourselves in the position, I feel like we were one or two plays away from going to the World Series, it just didn’t happen. I think when you get to this point in the season, it’s one or two plays, especially against a team that’s as good as the Red Sox. I feel like we were just as good as those guys, but it’s just that kind of series where a couple of things went their way and they won this ballgame.”