Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 10/2/13
At 9:37 eastern time on Friday night, the Detroit Tigers will finally kick off their much anticipated playoff run. They’ll start by playing in the rowdy house that Billy Beane built. Beane’s Oakland A’s are favored by many to knock off the Tigers in the ALDS best of 5 series. I think not. Yes, the Tigers’ offense has sagged as Miguel Cabrera’s power has dipped due to injury. Yes, Joaquin Benoit has finally blown a few saves. Yes, Justin Verlander hasn’t played the part of World Beater, circa 2011 and ’12. I say ‘so what’. Times change. Nothing is status quo this time of year. The playoffs are what this team was built for and the moment that Jim Leyland has been meticulously managing for over the past 6 months of relatively scripted baseball. And to quote Major League, as we all should be doing with regularity during this magical time of year, I give you arguably the greatest pep talk in baseball history: Jake Taylor: “Well then I guess there’s only one thing left to do.” Roger Dorn: “What’s that?” Jake Taylor: “Win the whole (bleeping) thing.” Jim Leyland and Torii Hunter – you gotta love it And so the Tigers will. And here’s why: Jim Leyland is the best cryer in baseball. I mean if you don’t get emotional watching this guy wear his heart on his sleeve during playoff time, then you sir, are a robot. Lots of fans have called for his head. These are the same fans that swear they’ll never fly Spirit Airlines again, until that sweet base price shows up in their Kayak search. Yeah, you’re flying Spirit, and you’re also going to weep precious tears of joy when Leyland gives his greatest cry of all, after the Tigers drop the Cardinals in the World Series four weeks from now. What, you need more than the best crying manager in baseball? Fine. I give you Torii Hunter. Not only was Hunter the best offseason acquisition of any team this past winter, but he will push the Tigers to the title this October. The 38-year old Hunter is in better shape than most of the game’s 25-year olds and has been working at his craft in the big leagues for 16 years now, waiting for this very moment. Watch him work pitchers over each and every at-bat, waiting for his moment to pounce. As much as everyone wants to talk Cabrera, Prince Fielder, and Victor Martinez, my gut tells me it’s Hunter that makes this offense go. Prime time pitching. Not only are the Tigers’ starters as a whole vastly superior to the A’s, they are in their primes. Moments in time on a given roster don’t come around like this very often. The combination of Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Anibal Sanchez, and Doug Fister was assembled for a reason. THIS reason. All four of these horses are chomping at the bit. Opposing this quartet of awesomeness is the 40-year old Barolo Colon (who hasn’t pitched in the postseason since 2005, and not exceedingly well since 2001), Sonny Gray (a rookie, albeit a very talented one), Jarrod Parker (a 2nd year guy who wasn’t on top of his game against Detroit in last year’s playoffs), and Dan Straily (another 2nd year guy who got the nod over the homer-prone AJ Griffin). Ask yourself which of these two groups of pitchers is most likely to fold under the bright lights. Yeah, same here. Fear not the bizarre crowd in Oakland. The Tigers exorcised the A’s and their wild crowd in last year’s postseason, including a series-winning Game 5, and took two out of three from the A’s in their yard again this year. Why? Because Detroit’s team is littered with playoff veterans and guys who have already lived the big moments. A sea of nut jobs in the stands won’t deter them from their title march. Some fans refuse to believe simply because that’s their nature. Others can’t buy in for fear of a broken heart. Others just hate on the Tigers because it seems like the tough guy thing to do. Others try to convince themselves that too much has gone wrong for this team to get it together now when it matters most. Here’s the deal, you have two days left to buy in. But don’t wear the silly combo of jeans and a sport coat to this party. Casmal, (casual/formal) as I call it, is lame, I don’t care who you are. Either go full on sweat suit like it’s 1984 or put on your three-piece suit. It’s time to go all in. To receive an email each time a new Tigers article is published, fill out the Email Notification Form [Follow me on Twitter @isportsJoe]

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Blake Griffin opts out of contract to become free agent

Report: Wolves targeting Kyle Lowry, Jrue Holiday, other point guards in free agency

Conor McGregor’s coach says tentative plans include a return to UFC in 2017

Report: Mets open for business on the trade market

Markelle Fultz believes the Sixers are already a playoff team

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Jimmy Butler’s attitude toward Fred Hoiberg made players ‘uncomfortable’

St. Louis Cardinals to hold first LGBTQ Pride Night

John Mara: Extending Odell Beckham Jr. isn’t team’s No. 1 priority

Mike Trout reportedly wanted to sign ‘lifetime deal’ with Angels

Blackhawks, Blue Jackets swap Artemi Panarin, Brandon Saad

Matt Forte expected to be ‘offensive workhorse’ for Jets?

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

The 'Finest running back from America’s Finest City' quiz

Players who need to turn around their season to save their teams

Sports & Politics Intersect: Washington gets a rare win

Three Up, Three Down: Flouting the written and unwritten rules of baseball

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Billy King Award for worst trade

Kicking it: David Villa isn't interested in a 'retirement tour'

Box Score 6/23: Philly continues to trust the process

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

The 'NBA Draft going back to school?' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Gary Payton Award for best trash talk of the year

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

The 'Finest running back from America’s Finest City' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Billy King Award for worst trade

Players who need to turn around their season to save their teams

Three Up, Three Down: Flouting the written and unwritten rules of baseball

Sports & Politics Intersect: Washington gets a rare win

Kicking it: David Villa isn't interested in a 'retirement tour'

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

The 'NBA Draft going back to school?' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker