The ALCS is over and done, and the Tigers are the American League champions after they squashed the Yankees in four games. Here are five observations about that series.
1. The Tigers starting pitching is horrifying for opponents.
In four starts this series, Detroit's four starters threw 27 1/3 innings, allowed two runs on 14 hits, walked nine, and struck out 25 hitters. This dominance came agaisnt a Yankees offense that struggled in the playoffs, but during the regular season, New York's offense led the AL with a .790 OPS, 245 homers, and was second with 804 runs. That is just an epic beatdown by the Tigers rotation.
2. Aside from Jose Valverde, the Detroit bullpen was aces.
Valverde allowed four runs in 2/3 of an inning, nearly blowing game one of the series in New York. He wasn't seen again over the rest of the series. Meanwhile, the rest of the Tigers bullpen threw 11 scoreless innings, gave up just five hits, walked only two, and struck out nine. And Joaquin Benoit, Detroit's setup man signed in the offseason, threw just 2/3 of an inning in the series. Hats off to Phil Coke, who pitched in all four games and saved two of them.
3. Someone is going to pay Delmon Young too much money this offseason.
Young won the ALCS MVP award after a performance that saw him drive in six runs (as many as the Yankees scored all series) and homer twice. There is definitely going to be some stupid GM out there that weighs that performance more than Young's regular season, where he had a sub-.300 OBP and a .707 OPS that was the second worst mark of his career (behind 2011). But go ahead, throw money at him because of one postseason series. If he has a good World Series for the Tigers, I'm sure his undeserved asking price will go up even more.
4. It's not all A-Rod's fault.
Alex Rodriguez is getting so much hatred for his struggles during the postseason this year. But let's be honest, Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson were equally as brutal. But because Rodriguez is the most recognizable face among the trio, the highest paid, and the least personable, he gets all the blame pushed upon him. Granderson's club option for 2013 is $15 million after finishing fourth in the 2011 AL MVP voting, and that is something that could end extremely poorly for the Yankees if they exercise it. If that option is exercised, and Granderson has another year like 2012 in 2013, the vitriol that he may get from Yankees fans would be frightening.
5. CC Sabathia continues to be an enigma.
Sabathia was a stud in the ALDS against the Orioles, coming one out shy of throwing two complete games, both Yankee wins. Then in the ALCS, he laid an egg in the elimination game, and the game was over when he left the game in the fourth inning. With this franchise, a player's contributions lie more on the "what have you done for me lately?" mindset. While Sabathia was incredible in beating the Orioles twice, he was awful on the bigger stage. After ugly postseason performances in 2010 and 2011 along with his disastrous 2012 ALCS, a narrative might start popping up around Sabathia, as unwarranted as it is.