The Detroit Tigers pulled off the inevitable on Thursday night, nailing the coffin shut on the New York Yankees and completing a four-game sweep thanks to another masterful pitching performance from a starting pitcher, this time Max Scherzer.
The Yankees were not going to get out of the ALCS, regardless of who they went up against — the Tigers, A's or Rangers. But there's no doubt, with the sweep, the Tigers have seized the biggest momentum swing in the postseason so far and are heading into the World Series full steam ahead.
Next up will be the winner of the NLCS between the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants — the previous two world champs — as the Cardinals took a 3-1 series lead on Thursday with Game 5 set for tonight.
So aside from the fact that the Tigers have a hot leadoff hitter, a Triple Crown winner and Prince Fielder in their lineup, not to mention ALCS MVP Delmon Young, the Tigers' ability to now set their pitching rotation however they please for the World Series should make them the favorite. It's true, if the Cardinals close out the Giants tonight, they'll be able to do the same thing, but the Tigers' rotation has been excellent throughout the postseason and is the best remaining.
Of course, it all starts with Justin Verlander (3-0, 0.74 ERA, 25 Ks, 5 walks in 24 1/3 postseason innings this year), who will start Game 1 and likely Game 5, and would be available for relief in Game 7, if necessary. Then, there's Scherzer (1-0, 0.82), Doug Fister (0-0, 1.35) and Anibal Sanchez (1-1, 1.35) after him. That's a salty four-man rotation if we've ever seen one.
Could this be the year the AL finally breaks through and wins the whole thing? The hopes lie with the Tigers, and they're looking to pretty solid hopes.