Verlander was nearly-perfect in game 5 of ALDS. Photo by Denise Walos.
The Tigers wanted it more than the Athletics. At least that is what it looked like on Thursday night in the 3-0 shutout.
The Tigers started Justin Verlander and déjà vu certainly set in and it looked to be a repeat of game five shutout of the 2012 ALDS. The Athletics had only two hits off Justin Verlander in the first eight innings.
A’s batting against Verlander:
Verlander had a perfect game going into the bottom of the sixth inning. He retired the first 16 batters until Josh Reddick broke up the perfect with a walk. Verlander took his no-hitter 6 2/3 innings until Cespedes broke up the no-no with a single. You can watch all of the hits and scoring plays of the game in two minutes and 18 seconds here.
photo by Denise Walos
The Athletics chose to start Sonny Gray over veteran Bartolo Colon. It’s doubtful the A’s would’ve done any better with Colon starting. The offense couldn’t make anything happen. It was heartbreaking to watch in person. Gray suffered a suffered a broken left thumb by a comeback line drive in the fifth inning. Dan Otero (former Giant) pitched two perfect innings and Sean Doolittle and Grant Balfour (As closer and free agent next year) didn’t allow the Tigers to score again.
After ALDS game five in 2012, you would think the As would’ve found a way to regroup and study Verlander to at least find a way to drive up his pitch count. But instead everyone was trying to be a hero by swinging away at anything in the strike zone. This has always been an issue for the As and hopefully something they can work on next year.
The As love their fans and thanked them for a great season.