illustrations by Samara Pearlstein
First things first: we are up 2-0. We are up 2-0 in the ALCS. We are up 2-0 in the ALCS against the Yankees and the first two games were in New York. We are up 2-0 in the ALCS, against New York, in New York, and Justin Verlander has yet to pitch in the series. Can I just take this moment to gesture in astonished mute hysteria? Yes? Thank you.
Secondly, the facts.
–Phil Coke had a two-inning save. In New York. In the ALCS. In place of our nominal real closer, who suddenly cannot be trusted with a hard-boiled egg in a wet paper bag, let alone anything less than a 10-run lead in a playoff game. In a crucial Game 2, when the Tigers desperately needed someone to step into that bullpen void, someone did step in, and that someone was freakin’ Phillip Douglas Coke, our noble knight of tonsorial mutability and carbonated beverages. Wow.
–Jhonny Peralta has been doing some crazy fielding of the baseball.
–Anibal Sanchez shut the Yankees out over seven innings. The useful formulation of that statement would be: A Tigers pitcher not named Justin Verlander shut the Yankees out over any significant number of innings. That is absolutely crucial, because Verlander is going to do what Verlander is going to do (Paws willing), but if nobody else in the rotation is able to operate on a comparable level, it’s just not going to go well.
–Hiroki Kuroda was throwing a perfect game for way too long to be considered polite.
–Even when there are a dozen umpires on the field, they are still going to screw things up. This is fine when it negatively impacts the Yankees and a travesty against every aspect of human decency when it negatively impacts the Tigers, obviously.
–Everybody likes to say Avisail Garcia’s name, and everyone likes to see him standing around with Miguel Cabrera so that all can marvel at how they are actually the same person and one of them is clearly just a time traveler.
–Meanwhile, in the TBS studios: