Tigers pitcher Jose Veras walks back to the mound as Boston's Shane Victorino rounds the bases on his grand slam in the seventh inning in Game 6 Saturday. The grand slam was one of two -- the other to David Ortiz in Game 2 -- the Tigers' bullpen yielded in the ALCS. (Robin Buckson / Detroit News)
Scott Lauber, Boston Herald
In the end, really, it was simple: The Red Sox were better than the Tigers. For all the praise, every bit of it well-earned, that Detroit received for its four-ace rotation, the Red Sox had more athletes and infinitely more ways to win. From unflappable 21-year-old rookie Xander Bogaerts, who saw 19 pitches (11 after getting two strikes against him) in Game 6 from Tigers ace Max Scherzer, to an unexpectedly dominant bullpen, the Red Sox were the more complete team.
Ken Rosenthal, FoxSports.com
The team with the best starting pitching generally prevails in the postseason. Not this time. The Tigers’ starters combined for a 2.06 ERA in the ALCS, with 55 strikeouts in 391⁄3 innings. The Red Sox’s starters combined for a 4.78 ERA, with 26 strikeouts in 32 innings.
And the Red Sox won, four games to two.
The Sox won because their bullpen was far superior, allowing one earned run in 21 innings, or six fewer than the Tigers’ ‘pen allowed in 12 2/3 innings.
Bob Klapish, Bergen Record
The Tigers will go home to count the days until pitchers and catchers, wondering what happened to Prince Fielder, who batted .182 without an RBI, or how things might’ve been different if Miguel Cabrera, with only one extra-base hit in 22 at-bats, hadn’t been playing on a bad ankle.
There were a number of talent evaluators who felt Detroit was the AL’s best team in 2013, even though the Red Sox won more games in a superior division. But that assessment was based on two assumptions — that Cabrera and Fielder would be at the core of the Tigers’ run-scoring machine, and that the Tigers would win the games started by Verlander and Scherzer. Nether of these scenarios played out in the Tigers’ favor, which undercut them for the second postseason in a row.
David Schoenfield, ESPN.com
The exciting thing about this (Red Sox vs. Cardinals World Series) matchup, however, is we have something we rarely see anymore: The best teams in baseball are playing for the World Series title. For all the statheads out there who often decry the randomness of the baseball playoffs, they should be embracing this result.
The Red Sox, playing in the toughest division in the majors, had the best record in the American League and the best run-differential in the majors. The Cardinals, playing in the toughest division in the National League, had the second-best run-differential and matched Boston’s 97-65 record. Yes, both teams benefited from a key injury from their opponents in the LCS — Miguel Cabrera on the Tigers, Hanley Ramirez on the Dodgers — but both also beat the impending Cy Young winners in Max Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw in their clinching victories.
Mike Axisa, CBSsports.com
(Drew) Smyly is the Tigers’ best reliever and he has been for most of the season. Leyland opted to use him for one batter to get the platoon matchup against Victorino, a matchup that ultimately did not work out. Veras hung an 0-2 slider that Victorino hit into the seats for the dramatic game-winning grand slam, and that was that. Both managers made bullpen gaffes in Game 6, but Detroit’s was far more costly.
Steve Gardner, USA Today
So the Tigers, who said the sweep at the hands of the San Francisco Giants in last year’s World Series motivated them to get back, will now have to ponder falling one step short of their goal.