Boston • Time may look a little more favorably on the entirety of a season that Jim Leyland said on a number of occasions since the first day in Lakeland was "set up for them to fail" because of the extraordinary expectations. Three straight division championships deserve acknowledgment because winning three straight titles of anything isn’t easy.
But the immediate reaction after Game 6 should be one of great disappointment.
It was World Series or bust.
And the Tigers are going home without the pennant.
The season is a failure.
That doesn’t warrant a thorough housecleaning simply for sake of accountability. Impulsively serving up sacrificial heads to appease the masses doesn’t offer a solution. It’s strictly a reaction.
But this ache will linger through what should be a long, cold winter.
The new Tiger who did nothing but smile all year long couldn’t muster one in the aftermath of a 5-2 Game 6 elimination to Boston in the American League Championship Series.
"The window’s getting smaller," said Torii Hunter, 38 years old and still with one void on his impressive career resume - no World Series appearances. He came to Detroit last winter for one reason. He thought this team provided him the best opportunity to fulfill that elusive dream.
"It’s the same old song for me," he said. "It’s another year where it comes up short. This year, we really thought that we had an excellent shot at it. But that’s baseball.
"Even if you wanted to, you could never completely figure it all out."
For the second time in the Tigers’ last two games at Fenway Park, the bullpen surrendered a late-inning grand slam.
Shane Victorino’s one-out blast in the bottom of the seventh Saturday night effectively drove the last nail in a Tigers’ postseason that left followers scratching their heads in disbelief or worse, clutching their midsections in nausea at an offense that never got untracked.
There will be sufficient blame doled out in the aftermath of the Tigers’ six-game elimination.
Leyland will take some heat for some of the decisions made. President and general manager Dave Dombrowski will absorb some arrows as well for never fully addressing the season-long bullpen issues. Prince Fielder probably will don the biggest set of goat horns, failing to record a single RBI in the 11 playoff games while extending his streak of playoff RBI futility to 18 consecutive games.
But it was a collective breakdown, the failure of making the right play at the right time - the undeniable trait of the champion.
The normally smooth rookie shortstop Jose Iglesias bobbled a ground ball desperately attempting a double play that was probably futile, setting up Victorino’s grand slam.
"Every mistake means more when you’re in this situation," Iglesias said.
The Tigers loaded the bases with nobody out in the top of the sixth. It was one of those occasions when you thought to yourself that if they couldn’t score anybody with this opportunity than they were truly destined to fall.Next Page >
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