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The seventh-best team in the AL wins the pennant

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blog-ABN-101912.JPGThe Detroit Tigers wrapped up their 11th American League pennant Thursday with an 8-1 butt-kicking of the New York Yankees. With the win, Detroit completes a four-game sweep and advances to the World Series -- which will begin at the home of the National League champion next Wednesday.

I had to chuckle at one of the comments made by Detroit owner Mike Ilitch after the game.

"I've got a great bunch. We don't have one hot dog in the bunch," Ilitch said. "They're all great guys. ... The Tigers are something special."

Not one hot dog in the bunch, huh? Has Ilitch seen his closer pitch lately? I'd argue Jose Valverde is the biggest hot dog in all of baseball.

I don't know that the Tigers are all that special either. This is an 88-win team that didn't clinch a playoff spot until Oct. 1. They only got into the playoffs because the White Sox gave away the American League Central Division title the last three weeks of the season. Detroit had the seventh-best regular season record in the league this year.

Is this a special or great Tigers team? Absolutely not. Doesn't mean they can't win the World Series, though.

Detroit beat an inexperienced Oakland team in five games in the first round, then had the good fortune of running into a Yankees' club that seemingly forgot how to play baseball after its captain, Derek Jeter, broke his ankle in Game 1 of the ALCS.

The Yankees may have hit 245 home runs in the regular season, but they put on the most awful display of postseason hitting I've seen since the 2000 White Sox.

Over the course of the four-game ALCS, the Yankees scored just six runs -- five of them on home runs. They scored in only three of their 39 offensive innings. They hit just .188 in the postseason, a record low for a team that played at least seven playoff games. New York's team batting average in this ALCS was .157.

Some of the credit has to go Detroit's starting rotation of Justin Verlander, Doug Fister, Max Scherzer and Anibal Sanchez. They were good against Oakland and dominant against New York. The Tigers' starters are 4-1 with a 1.02 ERA in nine postseason games this year.

This ALCS can only be described as a combination of good Tigers pitching and brutal Yankees offense. That's how it turned out to be so one-sided.

What we've seen from the Tigers these last couple weeks just proves that sometimes the hardest part of a baseball season is getting in the playoffs. Detroit underachieved all year, in my estimation. But if you can somehow get into the postseason field, you can get to the World Series if you can play hot for two weeks.

On the National League side, we may be looking at an 88-win champion as well. The St. Louis Cardinals now possess a 3-1 series lead over the San Francisco Giants after an 8-3 win Thursday night. Game 5 is Friday in St. Louis.

If the Cardinals finish that thing off, the fifth-best team in the National League will be playing the seventh-best team in the American League in the World Series.

Yes, indeed, wacky things happen in the baseball playoffs.

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This page contains a single entry by Jason Bauman published on October 18, 2012 10:25 PM.

Illinois football -- a tale of sorrow was the previous entry in this blog.

Move back to UEC would rejuvenate West Aurora football is the next entry in this blog.

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