Found October 12, 2012 on
Fox Sports Detroit:
When you absolutely, positively need a victory, there's no better pitcher to have than the reigning Cy Young and MVP winner.
As Justin Verlander came off the mound in the 8th inning of the deciding Game 5 against the Oakland A's, he pumped his right fist, finally showing some emotion as he smelled the victory.
At that point, Verlander had thrown 111 pitches, a pitch count just low enough for him to be able to head back out for the ninth.
As if there was any doubt.
"He's the man," Prince Fielder told TBS in the clubhouse after the game. "He's our guy. If we have one game to play, he's the one I want pitching."
The final 6-0 score does not accurately reflect how close Game 5 was and how much the Tigers relied on Verlander's dominance in a complete game shutout.
Through the first seven innings, Verlander allowed just two hits, a double to Yoenis Cespedes in the first and a single to Brandon Moss in the fifth.
Until the seventh, the Tigers had managed just two runs against A's rookie Jarrod Parker, on an RBI single by Austin Jackson and then Jackson scoring on a wild pitch.
Verlander had to be at his best and he was, walking just one and striking out 11 for his second victory of the ALDS.
"For me personally, this has got to be right up there," Verlander said in the post-game interview room. "I think this is No. 1. The two no-hitters are obviously up there but that's something a little bit different.
"This is a win-or-go-home, my team needs me and I was able to go out there and have one of the better performances I've had."
It really takes another pitcher to describe just how amazing Verlander's performance was.
"For Ver to go out there and do everything he did, that's just incredible," a gleeful Max Scherzer told FOX Sports Detroit's John Keating. "Better than great. It's one of the best performances that I've ever seen. He was on top of everything."
According to ESPN Stats and Info, Verlander's 11 strikeouts are the most in a shutout in a winner-take-all postseason game.
"It's tough to stop him," A's manager Bob Melvin said in the interview room on the post-game show. "It's like a locomotive going at a high speed. He was tough to deal with, unfortunately. He had really good stuff tonight and carried it all the way through the ninth."
After the Tigers lost Game 4 in heartbreaking fashion, Verlander came into the interview room and looked every bit the ace he is. Although disappointed, he was calm, resolute and completely confident that he could and would get the job done.
Obviously Verlander had that same mindset when he got to the clubhouse Thursday afternoon.
"I think he's a pretty good matchup for anybody when he's right and he had that look in his eye today," manager Jim Leyland told reporters after the game. "He was determined. He had a complete game look in his eye and we were thankful to get that."
Now instead of questions about Leyland's future and what the team will look like next season, the Tigers advance to the ALCS for the second straight season.
Although Verlander won't be able to start Game 1, he'll likely be ready for Game 3 and a possible Game 7.
Verlander, who has now added postseason dominance to his already impressive resume, believes his team is set up for a better showing in this year's ALCS.
"I think a lot of these guys on this team have experienced the postseason and I think just experience helps to be able to perform in that scenario, knowing how not to press too much and use the adrenaline to your advantage," Verlander said. "I think our experience last year is going to be huge for us. I said many times, this last whole month of the season, we've been playing pressure games where our backs were against the wall.
"We won the games that we needed to win and I think that bodes extremely well for us as a team moving forward in the playoffs because every game's a must-win."
BEST OF MAXIM
LIVING THE HIGH LIFE
Richard Verlander Sr., Tigers ace Justin Verlander's grandfather, recently told a gossip site that his grandson had been dating a "Sports Illustrated girl."
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: the Detroit Tigers will take on the New York Yankees in a playoff series. This time however, the stakes will be elevated. In 2006 and 2011 the Tigers eliminated the Yankees in the ALDS series. In 2012, these two teams will square off in the ALCS for the right to represent the American League in the World Series.The schedule looks like this:Game...
Justin Verlander struck out 11 in a four-hitter to send the Detroit Tigers back to the AL championship series, beating the Oakland Athletics 6-0 in the decisive Game 5 of their division series Thursday night.
After squandering two chances to clinch the series, including blowing a two-run ninth-inning lead in Game 4, Verlander became Detroit's ultimate closer.
The Tigers will...
Justin Verlander sat in the Tigers dugout during the ninthinning Wednesday night in Oakland, hands in his jacket pockets and a look ofanticipation on his face. He most likely was thinking about the celebration about toerupt at the Oakland Coliseum and starting the American League ChampionshipSeries opener on Saturday.Instead, after watching closer Jose Valverde surrender threeruns...
Wednesday night was a wild one in the divisional series matchups and the Detroit Tigers got caught up in the middle of it. Up 3-1 heading into the bottom of the 9th, the Tigers brought on their embattled closer Jose Valverde who gave the game away with rapid disgrace. Jose coughed up 3 runs with the final blow coming on a Coco Crisp single to right to score the game-winner.Max Scherzer...
The important piece is already in place.
Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers got it done in Oakland on Thursday, sealing a spot in the American League Championship Series for a second consecutive season.
Whom the Tigers will play in the ALCS and whether or not the series opens at Comerica Park remain in the balance.
The New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles will play a decisive...
OAKLAND -- The Oakland A's saw their magical, improbable season come to an end Thursday. And it took the American League's very best to snuff the last bit of life out of them. Detroit ace Justin Verlander tossed a complete-game four-hitter in a 6-0 victory that propelled the Tigers into the ALCS against either the New York Yankees or Baltimore Orioles in a best-of-seven...
Oakland's ability to work late-innings miracles means that the team will play in a winner-take-all Game 5 on Thursday. The A's will have Jarrod Parker, the Game 1 starter, back on the mound against Detroit, taking on Tigers star Justin Verlander. Parker said he won't change much despite seeing the Tigers just last Saturday. "You go in with your game plan and...
Miguel Cabrera danced on a chair in one corner of the visiting clubhouse, puffing a cigar. Prince Fielder doused his young sons, Jadyn and Haven, with non-alcoholic sparkling wine, then handed them each a bottle to shake and spray.
Just when the celebration seemed to be ending, Justin Verlander ran through the door and screamed ''Whoo!''
On the mound and in the...
Oakland's 2012 season is over, and the A's have much to be proud of -- and a lot to look forward to next year. The team fell 6-0 to the Tigers and Justin Verlander in Game 5 of the American League Division Series on Thursday at the Coliseum. Oakland did push the series to the brink by coming back to tie the series with wins in Game 3 and 4 at the Coliseum, but Verlander...
The Oakland Athletics finally encountered the one hurdle too tough to overcome in this surprising season: Justin Verlander.
The A's struck out 11 times against last year's AL Cy Young winner and MVP and were unable to complete an improbable comeback in the AL division series, losing Game 5 to the Detroit Tigers 6-0 on Thursday night.
Oakland overcame losses in the first...
NEW YORK In dueling Game 5s over a 24-hour span, Justin Verlander and CC Sabathia demonstrated what aces are supposed to do in October.
Verlander stomped to the mound Thursday in Oakland, before a hostile and delirious crowd, and delivered the finest performance of his postseason career: nine innings, zero runs, 11 strikeouts. He rescued a beleaguered bullpen, threw his first playoff...
Justin Verlander pitched scoreless ball and the Detroit Tigers took advantage of a pair of wild pitches by Jarrod Parker, taking a 2-0 lead over the Oakland Athletics through three innings in the decisive Game 5 of their AL division series Thursday night.
With the season at stake for both sides, Austin Jackson lined a double off the wall in left-center to score Omar Infante in the...
OAKLAND - The Oakland A's were able to defy the odds all season, but they finally found a challenge they couldn't overcome in Detroit Tigers' ace Justin Verlander. The A's lost Game Five to the Tigers by a score of 6-0 and are headed home after a memorable 2012 campaign.
The Detroit Tigers have one day to savor their triumph in Oakland before a whirlwind start to the AL championship series.
The Tigers are still waiting to find out their next opponent. The New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles play the decisive game of their division series Friday, and the ALCS starts Saturday.
Further complicating matters is the fact that the Tigers need two contingency...