Oh yeah, and they also got no hit by Henderson Alvarez.
According to Matthew Mowery, they were the first playoff-bound team ever to be no hit to end the season—eight previous playoff-bound teams have been no hit in September, but never in their final game of the season—and it was just the sixth time in MLB history a no hitter was won in walkoff fashion. Among the playoff-bound teams to be no hit in September, two went on to win it all; they were the 1969 New York Mets and the 1988 Los Angeles Dodgers.
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Granted, the Tigers made Alvarez’s task a little easier when they rested most of their regulars and starters like Prince Fielder only got one at bat before being taken out. The Tigers played this series with the Marlins, on a whole, without much intensity as befitting a team hoping to rest their stars after having clinched the division. Rabble all you want about how they “let” Oakland have home field advantage, but it truly didn’t really matter what the Tigers did against Miami because Oakland only needed one win to clinch HFA against the Tigers. They got that win in the first game of their series against Seattle and ended up taking two of three.
The fact that the Tigers pulled Rick Porcello out of the rotation to get him acclimated in the bullpen and seemed… well, somewhat uninterested in starting their regular players against the Marlins seems like a pretty good sign they were more concerned about preparing for the playoffs than playing for a home field advantage that was essentially out of their hands anyway. Also the amount of fans on facebook and twitter that thought HFA was suddenly back in play because Oakland lost Saturday was more embarrassing than the pathetic offensive showing in Miami, let’s be real.
The Tigers will take a day off before working out on Wednesday and then flying off to Oakland for the first game of the series on Friday. The Tigers/A’s game will probably be the afternoon game, assuming Boston gets the evening start (which they will, because Boston).
Leyland hasn’t publicly settled on a starting pitcher for game one, though Jim Price felt Leyland was leaning toward Verlander; he and Dan Dickerson both agreed Max Scherzer had earned the start, then proceeded to make a strong case for Verlander to start. My gut says Leyland will go with Verlander based on what he’s done against Oakland in his career, including the 2012 ALDS, and his strong second half, but you never know. Scherzer opened plenty of eyes this year and is definitely the “sexy” pick. Heck, you could even make a strong case for Anibal Sanchez to get the start, based on his 2013 season.
The Tigers will have to set their roster for the ALDS in the coming days, and my guess is Nick Castellanos, Matt Tuiasosopo, and Phil Coke will be the notable admissions (#RIP Phil Coke). The Tigers have Octavio Dotel’s and Luis Marté’s roster spots to play with, and may have Coke’s too if they have to remove him from the roster due to injury. They could carry both José Alvarez and Darin Downs, or one of them, or neither of them. It’ll be interesting to see how the final roster decisions shake out in the coming days.