A co-worker of mine had offered me a ticket just a couple days earlier, and we ended up in the right field balcony, a view I enjoyed while planting my butt in some of the most comfortable stadium seats I've ever seen. I snapped a few pics, but first we'll take a quick run through my scorecard:
1. David Price was Detroit's starter for this all important game, and he proved to be the right guy, going seven-plus innings while allowing just four hits. He also struck out eight, which allowed him to finish with the league lead in that category with two more than Cleveland's Corey Kluber. Dude was ON! I was also happy to see my fifth different Tigers pitcher going back to last year (Verlander, Scherzer, Fister, Sanchez).
2. Ian Kinsler was the other star of this show. From my vantage point in right field I watched as the 2B hit a beautiful arc of a homer to left in the third. He singled in the sixth, then doubled home a run in the 8th, amassing 75% of the team's hits and 67% of its RBIs.
3. With one out and Kinsler on first in the sixth inning, Miggy came up to face Twins starter Kyle Gibson for the third time. The righty hard mostly held the Tigers in check to that point, but Cabrera had already seen him twice, and sure enough the slugger absolutely tattooed a ball to center that kept going, and going, and going...into CF Aaron Hicks' glove at the warning track. A bit to the left or right and that goes out for a big hit!
4. Extremely light-hitting SS Andrew Romine keyed the eighth inning rally with a one-out walk and a steal. Young OF Ezequiel Carrera also chipped in a walk, and both of those guys came around to score a pair of key insurance runs.
5. I loved that Price lasted as long as he did, getting the first out of the eighth, but based on his pitch count it made sense to go to the (awful tire fire of a) bullpen. I really don't care for any of our relievers, but Joba may be my least favorite. Still, he managed to induce two quick grounders for a hold. Joe Nathan then got three popups, the final caught by catcher Alex Avila, to end it. To say this was the pen's last hurrah would be putting it lightly.
6. We stayed for a while to enjoy as the fans and players celebrated, the latter of whom came back out of the clubhouse to douse a good portion of the third-base line with champagne. The scoreboard made sure to note that this was Detroit's fourth straight division title. I'm old enough to know I shouldn't take that kind of success for granted--after 1987 we didn't sniff the playoffs until 2006, so that was definitely worth remembering!
Now here's a few shots I took from my seats:
My view from right field. The seats were a swivel, meshy kind of thing, and came with a table in front and full service. Not bad for $34!
Torii mans RF. The fans in this corner of the park simply love him, and it's fun to see him return that love with a wave.
I snapped a quick pic of Romine and Carrera on the bases in the 8th with Kinsler up, and not long after we were up two runs.
Detroit may be done for 2014 but I had a blast at this game, which put me at a 2-0 record for the season. The Tigers face some big decisions in the offseason as they seek to shore up a complete disaster of a bullpen, but the second half proved that the David Price acquisition was an excellent move. I look forward to next year, and now I'll turn my playoff rooting interests primarily towards the Cardinals, though I'm really not rooting against anybody this year. Good luck to your team if it's still in it!