DETROIT -- After the Athletics, who would have ever guessed that the Tigers' toughest opponent this autumn would be strategizing for another long layoff before the World Series? Certainly not the Yankees.
Ticket punched. Yankees clocked.
The Tigers are going to the World Series.
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This was a quick, decisive and brutal beatdown. Finishing with an 8-1 Game 4 rout, Detroit pitching channeled Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale, and that is not hyperbole: The Yankees did not lead once in this four-game TKO, and only one other time has that happened in the decorated New Yorkers' October history. That came in the 1963 World Series, when the Dodgers of Koufax and Drysdale swept them.
Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez, Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, take a bow.
Nick Swisher needs a hug? Alex Rodriguez needs the Witness Protection Program? Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson need fresh starts?
Why do you think that is?
After a week of banging on the Yankees, maybe it's time folks celebrated the Tigers.
If there was any justice, the entire Tigers rotation would have been named as the ALCS MVP. Tigers starters, over eight postseason games so far, have produced a 1.02 ERA and fanned 66 over 62 innings pitched. In the ALCS, they went 3-0 with an 0.66 ERA.
Now, the Tigers can sit back and watch the Cardinals and Giants battle, relax and figure out their World Series tickets for family and friends.
But based on recent history, don't expect them to relax too much.
This situation mirrors that of 2006 almost exactly: Then, after sweeping Oakland in the ALCS, the Tigers went from Saturday to Saturday between the final ALCS game and Game 1 of the World Series. Now, they will go from Thursday to Wednesday between the Yankees' blowout and Game 1 against the Cardinals (whom they met in '06) or the Giants.
The Tigers could not be any sharper right now. But they know that a week off can mess with timing and turn things rusty.
Among other things, if the weather is reasonable (and it is supposed to be better this week than it was in '06), they likely will play an intrasquad game or two, as colleague Danny Knobler wrote the other day.
The most important thing will be keeping their pitchers warm and poised. From the beginning of Game 5 of the Division Series against Oakland through the eighth inning of Game 3 of the ALCS, Tigers starting pitchers did not allow a run over 30 1/3 innings.
That is the longest scoreless streak by any club's pitchers in any postseason, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.