Two weeks ago, to the day, I wrote about how the Tigers needed a win to advance to the ALCS, and that Justin Verlander was going to be the man in that game. Two weeks later, and Detroit is in a particularly familiar situation.
This isn't an attempt to hype my Nostradamus-like prediction record, but to bring up the fact that the Tigers need to pick up and important win away from home.
This time, they won't have their superhero Justin Verlander to count on for big-game heroics.
Justin Verlander, who indeed came up big two weeks ago, once again failed to impress in a World Series game. Last night's dreadful performance only added to the enigma of Verlander's post-season record.
How does a guy do so well almost 99 percent of the time, but that one percent is always incredibly bad and on an incredibly grand stage. Gut-reaction from most followers of baseball would probably be to label Verlander a "choker" due to his frequent postseason struggles.
However, I don't buy it. Maybe it's because I don't want to (I'm a fan of Verlander), but I just don't see it. In 2006 and 2011, his other postseason appearances, he was bad throughout the playoffs. When he got knocked around, it was still surprising given who he is, but he was no worse than his other starts.
This year has been a much different playoffs so far. In all of Verlander's games, he's been as dominant as he has during the regular season. That's why last night's start was unexpected and, in a way, deflating for the Tigers.
They look to Verlander to set the tone of the game, and it was immediately bad. Credit where credit is due, though, Pablo Sandoval was unreal last night.
None of that matters now because there's no time to dwell on mistakes and bad games for the Tigers. The Tigers can even up this series tonight, and they will find a way to bounce back from Tuesday's 9-1 thrashing.
It all starts on the mound, both theirs and San Francisco's.
For Detroit, they send Doug Fister to the hill to start game 2. Fister's name does not strike fear into the hearts of his opponents, but neither does his opponent's. I'll get to that shortly, though. Fister