That’s Amaury News and Commentary
OAKLAND–There is a reason the Detroit Tigers gave Justin Verlander a 7-year extension(with an option for the 2020 season) for $180 million this past March.That is twice the total payroll of the Oakland A’s. On game five of the American League Divisional Series, Verlander gave a pitching exhibition.
The Oakland A’s bats had no chance. Verlander was a master, mixing his over 96 mph four seam fastball, with a slider in the mid 80’s, an unhittable curve ball, (his best pitch last night), and an ocassional change,just to remind A’s hitter that on this night he was the devil, that produced 10 strike outs and zero runs for eight innings. Justin Verlander, has won just about everything a pitcher can win, except a World Series ring.
He was the Rookie of the Year in 2006, he has two no-hitters, he has won a Cy Young and an MVP Award. Rafael Belliard, an old friend, and first base coach for the Detroit Tigers told me prior to game five at the Oakland Coliseum: “We are confident with Verlander, he is one of the best, and we have been focused on one thing, and one thing only- since Spring Training, going back to the World Series and winning this time”.
The Detroit Tigers were the favorites during last year’s World Series, but the Giants surprised everybody and swept them. After Miguel Cabrera hit his first home run of this postseason in the fourth inning, you knew the game was over. I made a remark on the broadcast that the way Verlander was pitching those 2 runs he had of support, seemed like 8 runs. Verlander did not allowed a runner until he walked Josh Reddick with one out in the sixth.
He had a no-hitter with two outs in the seventh, until Yoenis Céspedes got a clean line shot for a base hit into center field. The best player this year for the A’s was Josh Donaldson, their third baseman, but the best athlete and best ballplayer is Yoenis Céspedes, and by-the-way he was their best hitter again in the postseason, establishing records for Oakland A’S in postseason.
But back to Justin. In two games, during this five game Divisional Series, Justin Verlander did not allowed a run and struck out 21 Athletics. Going back to the 2012 postseason, Verlander has pitched 30 consecutive scoreless innings against Oakland.
A crowd of 46,959 was rocking all night (not a sellout) traditionally games that start at 5PM at the Oakland Coliseum do not sell out, it is not a “comfortable”hour, and then to increase the traffic stress, there was a “Pink”concert next door at the Oracle Arena, which got starter around 7PM.
It was a good season for the Oakland A’s, they won their division for the second time in a row, but last night the best team won. Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera playing with one leg, is better than 40% of the regular players on the field that are 100%.
Congratulations Tigers, good luck the rest of the way. The Red Sox should not be easy, they never are, specially at Fenway.
Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Spanish radio voice for the Oakland A’s and does News and Commentary weekly for Sportstalk Radio