The summary, via Jeff Passan –
Please understand, the scary part wasn’t that the Boston Red Sox spent 3 hours, 42 minutes completely fooled by the Detroit Tigers on Saturday night. It was not that it took the Red Sox 153 pitches to get their first hit, nor that the clock was four minutes shy of midnight and they were about to turn into one of history’s great postseason pumpkins. It wasn’t even the 1-0 loss they swallowed in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series, a jagged enough pill itself.
No, this is what deserves to frighten a Red Sox team that doesn’t scare easy: The Tigers almost threw the third no-hitter in postseason history with their No. 3 starter, and Nos. 1 and 2 await Boston over the next two games. Anibal Sanchez was the appetizer for main course, Max Scherzer, and dessert, Justin Verlander.
And it’s why from the beginning of the season, the Tigers, more than any team in the AL, have owned the ability to own the postseason. No team matches their gift to throw inning after shutdown inning, even if some of those innings can turn ugly like they did in Game 1 and necessitate a patchwork effort that better resembled a fine quilt. Five pieces – Anibal Sanchez, Al Alburquerque, Jose Veras, Drew Smyly and Joaquin Benoit – stared down the league’s best offense and yielded one measly single, a Daniel Nava looper to center field off Benoit with one out in the ninth.
I missed the 4th, 5th and 6th innings of this one. And, I was dozing on and off when I picked it up again in the 7th. But, boy, what a game! I soooooooo badly wanted the Red Sox to get no-hit, albeit a combined job. Nava reminded me of Carl Everett. And, I was afraid that Berry was going to pull a Dave Roberts.
In any event, here’s my advice to the Tigers: Don’t take your foot off their throat, not for a second. See: ALCS, 2004.