This is yet another tough pill to swallow for A’s fans. Their season has been cut short by the Detroit Tigers, again. They were flat out dominated by Justin Verlander, again. The A’s and their fans had to watch the Tigers celebrate on their field, again. And the A’s are left asking “what if,” again.
The A’s made the bold decision to start Sonny Gray in place of Bartolo Colon, and while Gray wasn’t his spectacular self from game 2, it simply didn’t matter. The game was essentially over when Stephen Vogt set up inside on a 1-0 pitch to Miguel Cabrera from Gray to Miguel Cabrera. The hobbled Cabrera showed that he still has tremendous power, and he launched the pitch out to left field to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead. The way Verlander was rolling, that lead seemed insurmountable, and ultimately it would be.
Verlander retired the first 16 batters he faced, until he walked Josh Reddick in the sixth inning. Yoenis Cespedes broke up his no-hitter in the seventh with a single. Jim Leyland saw fit to remove Verlander from the game, and at least spare the Athletics the indignity of a second straight complete game shutout at his hands. Joaquin Benoit gave the A’s a shred of hope by allowing a double to Jed Lowrie, and by hitting Yoenis Cespedes with a pitch. But with two outs already, Seth Smith came to bat needing to get on base to keep their hopes alive. Smith lofted a routine fly ball to Torii Hunter in right, and just like that the A’s World Series, or even ALCS hopes disappeared with the ball into his glove.
There will be plenty of time to analyze this series, and this season, and figure out where it all went wrong again. For now, A’s fans must deal with the loss in their own way, and start to prepare for 2014.