There are certain plays in a game or series that fans, analysts, players and managers may look back on and determine that right there was the turning point for their team. It could be a single play, a move the manager made or a sequence of events leading up to the culmination.
Last night during the Tigers’ do-0r-die Game 4 against the Oakland A’s you may be able to identify a few of these plays or sequences however one stands up above all.
Max Scherzer, Game 1 starter and 2013 AL Cy Young favorite made one of the more memorable postseason relief appearance in not only Tigers history but Major League Baseball history as well.
Off the bat though Scherzer simply didn’t look very Scherzer like. After giving up a run in the 7th and surrendering the lead Scherzer returned in the 8th and promptly gave up a single to Brandon Moss and a double to Yoenis Cespedes giving the A’s runners on the corners with no one out. From here Jim Leyland elected to walk Seth Smith loading the bases while bringing the infield in and Drew Smyly ready in the bullpen to face Josh Reddick.
But Smyly didn’t enter the game… Leyland stayed with his co-ace Max Scherzer who went to a full count against Reddick before getting him to swing at a ball out of the strike zone for the first out.
Next up, Stephen Vogt who fouled off three straight Scherzer pitches before going down on strikes.
With Comerica Park erupting at the possibility of the lead being preserved and Scherzer doing what many thought was unthinkable.
Then in a pinch hitting role Alberto Callaspo once again worked the count full but eventually lined out to Austin Jackson ending the inning and the huge Oakland threat.
So is this it Tigers fans? Is this the turning point or the spark the Tigers needed to go out to Oakland Thursday night with JV on the mound and a chance to go to their third straight ALCS?