Category Archives: ALCS


turn out the lights


rally cat

photo by Samara Pearlstein

For Game 4, I declared that before every half inning when the Tigers were batting, I would kiss the cat. I did this very thing. The results speak for themselves.

This is Kaylee, internet, and you have her to thank.

This is Upsetting and I am Upset.

illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

Seriously! What else was Justin Verlander supposed to do? He was more than good, and he left the Tigers more than enough chances to swing themselves back into the game. I am not a happy cat right now.

Also, John Lackey, gross.

Games 1 and 2 of the Conflict ALCS

illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

Now that the Tigers have lost a game, we can safely bump Maneki-Paws from the top spot here. Not that we are giving up on the good luck power of Maneki-Paws, of course… we’re just acknowledging this momentary lapse in his ability to influence the world around him. I’m sure he will be back at full strength tomorrow night.

Game 2 can be safely summed up in the image above. Max Scherzer was pitching firmly on the side of the blue eye, the offense had for once managed to exert itself for more than the absolute minimum of runs, Torii Hunter laid himself all out on the line in a near-literal sense if you call the outfield fence ‘the line’… but it came down to Big Papi’s tendency to be, well, big, in the ‘coming up huge’ sense of the word. As a Bostonian I can assure you all that this is just what he does, especially in the postseason, and it’s nothing personal. Not that this makes last night’s game any better, but there you are.

Game 1 had a rather different outcome.

What happens when Anibal Sanchez and assorted relievers very nearly no-hit the Red Sox? ALCS victories happen, that’s what. That the Tigers should get such a pitching performance out of NotMax/NotJustin is inestimably valuable. Anibal did his bit and then some in the effort to move onto the next round, and in commemoration of his efforts I hereby present him with this Terrible Cartoon.

It has been, as is usual when the Tigers and Red Sox play each other, a brain ‘splodey experience for me. This time it’s ramped up to a particularly high and squealy pitch because of the playoff factor, and the fact that I conduct much of my daily life within technical walking distance of Fenway Park. I am honestly a little surprised that my Olde English D’d car has not been keyed yet, but maybe Boston has mellowed out. Certainly everyone was perfectly pleasant when the Tigers were in town during the regular season, even when I was wearing more Tigers gear in public than anyone other than an actual Detroit Tigers employee would ever reasonably need, and I haven’t gotten more than a side-eye for wearing a Tigers hat out and about this past weekend.

The tough thing is that, when they aren’t playing the Tigers, there has been precious little reason to dislike this 2013 version of the Red Sox. It’s hard to not be sort of fond of David Ortiz swearing in public, or Koji Uehara’s various weirdnesses; the beards, while objectively horrific, are actually pretty fun. So I do like these Sox. They aren’t quite as cranky and drunk as they have been in the past, they’ve provided the city of Boston with a highly entertaining season, and they have absolutely no sense of tonsorial propriety. I don’t especially like rooting against them.

But I do especially like rooting for the Tigers. That’s pretty unambiguous. And John Lackey’s starting Game 3, against Justin Verlander. Nobody likes John Lackey, and all right-thinking folk like Justin Verlander. Should make things easier.

Go Tigers.

The Tigers are going to the World Series.

illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

It started on Wednesday in a rain delay without rain and ended on Thursday in a screaming victorious Phil Coke glove slam behind the mound. The Tigers are going to the World Series.

CC Sabathia was never the Sabathia that we feared, and came out of the game in the 4th. Max Scherzer struck out 10 over 5.2 innings. The Tigers are going to the World Series.

Phil Coke pitched two innings to close out the game. Valverde and Benoit were warming, but neither was needed. Phil Coke owned the back end of the bullpen in the ALCS. The Tigers are going to the World Series.

During the trophy ceremony after the game, Mike Ilitch stood there supported by Dave Dombrowski and Jim Leyland. The president of the American League said some dumb things, very poorly. Mr. Ilitch described the team as not having “one hot dog in the bunch.” The Tigers are going to the World Series.

The offense finally decided to put in a decent night’s work. Miguel Cabrera homered. Austin Jackson homered. Jhonny freakin’ Peralta hit TWO home runs. The Tigers are going to the World Series.

It didn’t rain even a little bit. The game was not at all delayed. The park was full. The cold weather encourages fans to show up in fuzzy costume tiger suits. The Tigers are going to the World Series.

The Tigers beat the Yankees. The Tigers swept the Yankees. The Tigers are going to the World Series.

The Tigers are champions of the American League in 2012. The Tigers are going to the World Series.

The Tigers are going to the World Series.

Phil Coke leads to victory and other oddities.

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:

The Tigers are trying to kill me.

illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

These Terrible Cartoons are old, but still applicable today. Not that this is a good thing, mind, but it is definitely a Thing, because the Tigers must have been trying to kill me then, and now they have renewed their efforts.

Jim Leyland is trying to kill me with his (non)decision-making. Doug Fister is trying to kill me with his comebacker off the wrist. Delmon Young is trying to kill me with cognitive dissonance. Papa Grande is plain old trying to kill me, just straight up murderous intent and all that. By the end of the game I felt like I had run a marathon and been hit over the head with a large mallet. I needed a pile of kittens and probably a hug. It was not passive baseball viewing; the Tigers made sure that was not going to be possible.

If they’re all going to be like this, I may not survive the week. Fair warning.