For most of the season, Tiger fans worried about Justin Verlander.
“Book your tickets to Boston. It’s in the bag.”
Pitching the deciding game of the American League Division Series in Oakland, keeping the season of the vaunted Detroit Tigers alive, performing under pressure – all this is nothing new to Justin Verlander.
With buzz from Sonny Gray’s sensational Game 2 start still lingering, here comes the kid’s encore performance: The A’s have named him as their Game 5 starter for Thursday night’s final game with the Tigers.
“You don’t pretend,” Verlander said. “It’s not just another game. The season is on the line. It was on the line for us tonight, too. This whole season, the way we battled and played as a team, comes down to one game.”
“I haven’t really had a lot of luck with that in my career to be honest with you, bringing a starter out, but we’ll see,” Leyland said.
Vogt hit a bases-loaded single in the ninth inning after Gray matched zeros with Justin Verlander in a dazzling postseason debut.
In addition to officially not dating Kate and having to see her splashed on magazine covers in an opponents’ jersey, Verlander is also not starting in the Tigers’ playoffs rotation.
In 2011 or 2012, no one would have ever thought to question whether Justin Verlander, in 2011 the most dominant pitcher and in 2012 still one of the best, would be the number one starter for the playoffs.
The Tigers set a new American League record for strikeouts in a season: 1,384.