Verlander must salivate when he can close out a series against the Oakland A’s. For this year’s elimination game, he throws a no-hitter through 6 2/3’s innings, only to see it broken up by Yoenis Céspedes. (I mention Yoenis Céspedes just because I love writing “Yoenis Céspedes”…with apologies to Gail Collins.)
But Verlander’s classic – supported by a surprise dinger from the injured Miguel Cabrera who, with only one home run in September, showed up in time in October to help the Tigers win the series – was just the latest in a good round of games.
As the Nats learned last year, momentum can change quickly in these short five-game series. Oakland looked like everything was going its way this year, until it didn’t. Ditto for the Pittsburgh Pirates, who were rolling until a rookie threw a near no-hitter that was just as dominating as Verlander’s and that saved the Cardinals’ season. And when an obscure Tampa Bay bench player hits a walk-off homer against Boston’s dominant closer, one might have thought the Rays had the momentum…until the very professional Red Sox came out and took care of business the next day. The Braves may have been the only team in the Division Series that never really had momentum…but then, we are talking about Atlanta and the playoffs.
So bring on the League Championship Series. Four worthy teams. Two intriguing matchups.
I love October!
More to come…