Detroit Tigers

MLB Playoffs 2011: Why the Detroit Tigers Winning Was Pure Dumb Luck

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 06:  Jose Valverde #46 (2nd L) of the Detroit Tigers celebrates with his teammates after he was the closing pitcher in the Tigers 3-2 win against the New York Yankees during Game Five of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 6, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images
Josh BenjaminCorrespondent IOctober 7, 2011

Not too long ago, the Detroit Tigers completed an upset over the New York Yankees in the American League Division Series.  Despite some threats and rallies by the Bronx Bombers, Jim Leyland's boys were able to advance to the ALCS with a 3-2 victory.

Yet, as great as the series was, I'm going to take a controversial stand and say that the Tigers did not earn that victory.  To put it bluntly, tonight's victory and the series win as a whole was pure luck on Detroit's part.  Let's analyze the series from the start.

Game 1 was supposed to be played last Friday night as CC Sabathia and Justin Verlander were set to face off in a battle of the aces.  The game was tied 1-1 in the second inning before being suspended and Sabathia was absolutely cruising.  Verlander, on the other hand, had struggled just to get through the first inning.

Call me crazy, but I think the Yankees would have won that game.  Sabathia was at his absolute best and Verlander really didn't look all that sharp.  Still, the Yankees finished the game the next night to the tune of a 9-3 victory.

Now, let's talk about Game 2.  I won't make any excuses here, as the Yankees were simply outmatched by Max Scherzer.  The man is well on his way to becoming one of the game's top strikeout pitchers and if he can improve his control, there may be a Cy Young award in his future.

Game 3 is the one that royally burned me up.  Us fans finally got our dream matchup of CC vs. Verlander and instead of the epic duel we hoped for, we got an umpire who was clearly giving the Tigers ace hometown calls.  I understand that CC Sabathia sometimes has games where he isn't at his best, but he's never so bad to the point where he walks six batters.  The Yankees put up a respectable fight, but Detroit once again came out on top.

Now, let's fast forward to tonight's game, Game 5.  I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a Yankees fan bummed out about the team losing, but I am not at all impressed by what the Tigers did tonight.  The Yankees loaded the bases twice with one out and could only muster one run, on a bases loaded walk, no less.

That being said, the Yankees just flat out didn't deserve to win the game tonight.  Yet, at the same time, I won't be giving the Tigers any props either.  Under normal circumstances, the Yankees would have blown them out of the water and to be totally honest, the team from the Motor City got lucky.

Fans can only hope that this luck follows them to the ALCS, where they will face the dangerous Texas Rangers.

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