Detroit Tigers ace pitcher Justin Verlander exceeded expectations in Game 5 of the ALDS, as he pitched a complete-game shutout and assured the Tigers will advance to the ALCS after a 6-0 win over the Oakland Athletics.
After Jose Valverde put Detroit faithful on the edge of their seats by blowing a ninth-inning lead in Game 4 and forcing a winner-take-all game on Thursday, Verlander eased the mind of every Tigers fan by dominating the A's and never giving them a chance to get a lead in the clinching game.
Kurt Mensching of Bless You Boys was left in awe of Verlander's dominance in the ALDS, because the term "ace" doesn't quite do Verlander justice anymore:
Verlander aced both exams. In Game 1, he threw seven innings of one-run ball, striking out 11. Combine that with Game 5, your series totals look like this: 16 innings, 22 strikeouts, seven hits and one run allowed. That run came off the bat of the first A's batter to face Verlander in the series.
Thanks to Verlander, a short series against the Tigers is almost unfair. You know you're going to see him at the start. You pretty much have to win the next three games, or you're going to see him again.
The Tigers await the winner of the other ALDS series between the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees. The series is tied 2-2 and Game 5 is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. ET on Friday at Yankee Stadium.