When the Tigers swept the Yankees last week, it appeared that things could not have been more perfect. It only took Detroit four games to best New York in the seven game series. This guaranteed the Tigers a break to rest of up for the World Series. The Cardinals were ahead of the Giants by one game in the series. Once the Cardinals won their third game, it appeared that the final match between St. Louis and Detroit was set in stone.Those who thought so were wrong.
The Giants rallied back once again, down three games, to stretch the series all the way till this past Monday. After it was over they had won three straight to advance to their second World Series in three years, this time against Detroit. San Francisco’s amazing comeback has left the Tigers waiting a week since their last game and it has left their fans troubled.
Last time the Tigers advanced to the World Series a similar pattern occurred. After a quick sweep of the Oakland Athletics the Tigers were stuck waiting to play the Cardinals for six days. The long break resulted in a 4-1 World Series victory for St. Louis. During the 2006 Championship Series, the Tigers looked out of sync committing several uncharacteristic errors throughout. Fast-forward to the present and the disturbing similarities have Detroiters biting their fingernails. After all, in both journeys to the World Series Detroit faced both New York and Oakland and in both years the Tigers swept their second opponent.
Tigers’ manager Jim Leyland also took note of the similarities. ”I do think the lull between our playoff and the World Series did work against us in 2006. Now, that’s not to take anything away from the St. Louis Cardinals. But all of a sudden, our emotion went from so high to just a blah, looking at each other for six days of staring at each other with really no action. That’s hard.”
Leyland wasn’t about to make excuses however. “We’re not dumb,” Leyland said. “We do learn from the past.”
So this past week the ballclub has attempted to stay on the heater by practicing with their minor league team during their break prior to World Series play.
While several of the trends between Detroit’s World Series runs have fans anxious, one should bring them peace of mind. Their ace starter Justin Verlander will have taken the mound in both series openers. Since 2006 Justin has won both a Cy Young award and an MVP award. Now a more experienced Verlander says he is ready to embrace the moment.
”It’s different because that seemed like it was easier. We were ahead all year,” Verlander said commenting on the teams last World Series appearance. ”You have more of an appreciation of how hard it is to get here.”
Tune in tonight as the Tigers attempt to rewrite their own history and win their first World Series since 1984.