The Detroit Tigers continued their winning ways in Game 4 of the ALCS Thursday night, handily defeating the Yankees 8-1 to earn the club a berth in the 2012 World Series. With the pennant-clinching victory, the Tigers became just the second team in history to defeat the Yankees in the postseason in consecutive seasons, and the first team to sweep the Bronx Bombers in a playoff series since 1980.
Shutdown performances from Tigers pitching and surprise contributions from players like left-hander Phil Coke and free-swinging outfielder Delmon Young -- who was named ALCS MVP award for hitting .353/.421/.765 with two home runs in the series -- made the series one to remember for Detroit fans. For Al Beaton of Bless You Boys, the ALCS confirmed for him that this season has been unlike any other in Tigers history:
Seven months ago the Tigers were weighed down with out-of-control expectations, a team which was going to stroll damn near uncontested to the AL Central title. Three months later the Tigers were considered the most overrated and disappointing team in baseball. Six weeks ago, rumors swirled Jim Leyland needed to make the playoffs in order to save his job. A mere four weeks ago the Tigers were reeling, three games back of the Chicago White Sox, the playoffs seemingly out of reach.
Six games ago, the Oakland Athletics walked off in soul-crushing fashion to stretch the ALDS to a 5th game, the Tigers again appeared to be in deep trouble. Four games ago, the Tigers had all but given away Game 1 of the ALCS to the the Yankees, unable to hold on to a four-run lead.
Today the resilient beyond belief Tigers are the champions of the American League after sweeping the Evil Empire.
I dare you to find a more fun, crazy, intense and just plain all-around bizarre season in Detroit Tigers' history.
You won't find one.
The Tigers will take on either the defending-champion St. Louis Cardinals or the 2010 champion San Francisco Giants for a chance at a World Series title. The series will begin Wednesday, Oct. 24 at a to-be-determined time and place.