Part V: Playoffs in Review or Stone Cold Bummer

October 4th: Tonight

The A’s fans will be loud and will boo every Tiger player, for no real reason. Miguel will come to the plate, hearing the loudest of all boos. He will hit a double to score Austin from first base and will shock everyone, pulling into second base himself. He will not be fast, but he will not crawl or walk, at once a hopeful and fearful sight, depending on your perspective. The drunken A’s fans will be sobered by, "The Big Man, Miguel Cabrera."

Max will step onto the mound and relish the roars and boos of the crowd. He is the Cy Young winner and the game one starter — he is The Ace. As he strikes out two and induces a weak pop out to end the first, he will also be the author of silence, quieting down the crowd. "I am the silencer," he thinks. "I have the power to seal up the lips of thousands." He will do just that, throwing seven innings and allowing one solo home run, but no substantive damage beyond the lone big fly.

The offense will put up a surprising four runs against Fartolo Colon, powered by a Prince Fielder two run shot and a timely hit by Andy Dirks. Yes, that Andy Dirks. Iglesias will play defense, Avila will have a double and AJ will strike out. Ramon Santiago will sit out a game that he arguably should have started, a first for him in quite some time. He will inwardly smile at the achievement. Sitting alongside Pena and watching the game, he will have a genuinely good time.

The bullpen will be handed a three run lead to protect in the eighth. This will incense the crowd, waking them up from their Scherzer induced lethargy. Smyly and Veras will combine to allow a run in the eighth, cutting the lead down to a very uncomfortable two runs. In the ninth, Benoit will come on to close it out. After walking the lead off batter, the Colosseum will be louder than ever and our living rooms will reek of doom, beer and freshly poured bourbon. Benoit will eventually find himself with runners on the corner and two outs. An RBI single cuts the lead to one. Sweating, Benoit rubs his forehead, working his sweat into the ball. He quite literally puts himself into his craft. Looking up at the screaming fans waving gold and green he wonders what to do. "Wither is my salvation and my protector?" he thinks. "How can I be shielded against these enemy forces? To what inner space can I turn?" The screams are so loud it is as if he is surrounded by utter quiet. In the quiet, no voice appears. It is just Benoit and Benoit. He resolves to put his faith in himself and the vulcan change. It pays off, striking out the A’s last batter and sealing it for the Tigers.

After the game, Benoit will be compared to Valverde, which is quite rude, really. Scherzer will want someone to drink with to celebrate his victory, but everyone besides Fister and Anibal will "have work tomorrow." "Man, they’re right," he thinks. "Being a starting pitcher is the best! I’m basically on top of the world right now. Can’t wait to make millions and millions of dollars." And millions of dollars he will make. But really, who could begrudge him? The silencer has earned the right to make some noise.

October 5th: Justin Verlander

will embrace his newly discovered humanity, having recently learned that he is not in fact, a robot. Though initially he struggled coming to grips with the harsh realities of human life — mortality, loss, failure, illness, mediocrity — by today he will see past these mortal woes. He will realize that this world can be redeemed from these every day drudgeries by unadulterated greatness, rare and luminous. "I may not be a robot," he will think, "but I don’t have to be depressingly human. I can be an autumnal god, crowned in burnt red and auburn leaves, worshipped for my October prowess." He will return to the site of one of his signature moments and damn near repeat the performance, allowing one run over eight innings and striking out ten A’s. His eyes will be unreadable and merciless as he whittles down A’s hitters, pounding the strike zone, immune to all moneyballing. His curveball will be tighter than his pants and his delivery perfect — not mechanical, but inspired.

Meanwhile, Miguel will hit a home run, soaking up the boos and recognizing that only the weak hate greatness and he dear readers, is strong. He will take his time trotting around the base paths, loathe to risk injury and basking in the tacit confirmation of his abilities the booing signifies. Avila will chip in with a double and will be picked up by Omar who will hit a belt high fastball to the gap, the kind of fastball he dreams about every night when he goes to sleep. Brookens will send Victor home from first on a double in the seventh, only to watch VMart get ruthlessly gunned down. Brookens is inspired by either inhuman cruelty or he errs more than most in his judgement. Whatever the cause, it will be baffling. Sonny Gray will be sympathetic and young, but he will not have a great day, allowing four runs in six innings.

Benoit will close out the game, but with a four run lead, he will not get the save. All of the charlatans and sophists of doom will look foolish today, exposed for what they truly are — dumbos. In post game interviews, Verlander won’t even seem happy. He has seen a larger goal, further away and requiring much daring. "We played well today," he will tell reporters, "but we’ve got work to do. Bigger things. I can almost see it, we…" he breaks off. After a few seconds he just looks at them and says, "We will just have to wait and see. This is not the end." No one will quite know what to make of that, but everyone admits that it does seem promising.

October 7th: Today Anibal

will display The Art of Pitching. Long thought to be an empty and meaningless concept, The Art of Pitching will shock everyone lucky enough to skip work and watch the game. Particularly when The Art of Pitching carves up Donaldson on three pitches, everyone will be in awe. Were this some classless (and unnamed) town, ironic MVP chants would chase the strangely haired third basemen to the dugout. Since it is Detroit, the crowd will just cheer for Sanchez. Those on the internet will wish it were otherwise, but maintaining real life decorum is important, a basic necessity underpinning all of society. The good people of Detroit know what is best. Price will again be vindicated, having long called it a "nice area." No one will really know what to think about Jim Price stealing the show. "Is he right about everything?" we will wonder. "I always thought he was just nice and sometimes funny, is he an oracle seeing into the future and describing eternal truths that only he can see? Does Price know things about my soul that I could never fathom?" It has been a long season and we are all stretched a bit thin. Long story short, Anibal will throw seven innings, allowing a lone run, pitching through traffic twice and striking out eleven.

Miguel will not hit a home run, fueling annoying doom from all national "analysts". Would that any of them knew the meaning of the word "analyze," this would not be the case. While Miguel will only have one RBI, the rest of the offense will mysteriously put up six Miguelless runs. Avila and his hair will hit a two run home run. Prince will double into left. Iggy will get TWO hits, silencing those who think he is useless at the plate for at least one day. Enjoy the respite, live in the moment. AJ, long the key to the Tigers’ offense, will go 3-4, obviously with one strikeout. When he does strike out, the hit and run will be off. The Tigers win 7-2 after someone in the bullpen gives up a home run, so at least people can bitch about that tonight.

After the game, Anibal and NERTS will have some afternoon ice cream. A cool chill will disrupt their usual sitting on top of the hood routine. They will sit inside Anibal’s hybrid Honda Accord and draw the strangest of looks. The fools looking on will see a beautiful sight without ever knowing it. They will be blind to The Art of Eating Helado.

I can’t participate in any threads today because I have to teach fellow humans about Plato and justice, even thought justice is clearly a meaningless concept as the Tigers are playing at noon here. Have fun everyone and Eat them up, Tigers.

October 8th: Doug Fister

will terrify everyone, allowing two runs in the first inning. The internet will be overcome with doom and all civility will break down. Society will dissolve. Insults, fighting, demanding the firing of Jim Leyland — all of this will come to pass. Strangely, at the fifth inning, there will be a lull. Fister will have recovered, but with the offense still sluggish, the internet will go quiet. No speculating about the offseason. No complaining about Iglesias. No general insulting of players or their abilities. Just quiet. Dead air, blank screens, white noise. Life isn’t hectic on the dark side of the brink after all, rather it is pneumatic nothingness. This peaceful silence will be more terrifying than anything experienced watching baseball thus far. Panic and despair will creep up the throats of viewers, causing them to feel trapped in their own bodies, powerless against the spectacle unfolding before them. We will all hold our terror close.

Then, the sound. A bat crack. Who could it be? It has to be him. The Big Man, Miguel Cabrera. He will hit a two run home run to the legends in right center field. It will be huge, it will be shocking and it will be great. Noise. Screams. Delight and beautiful release. Smiles, community, togetherness. "Yes he is hobbled, no that doesn’t bode well, but look at that home run," we will all think. Prince Fielder doubles. Victor drives him in with a single. Prince was out at home but gets called safe. Bless the human element, for today at least it has helped. Victor will tell Balfour to fuck himself and that he is stupid and Australia sucks and nobody lives there except criminals. "You goddamn kangaroo clown," he will say at the end, kind of proud of that last burn. Sometimes even good people have their limits.

Doug will throw eight innings because he cannot be money balled and Benoit will close out the ninth. The series tied and headed to Oakland with Max likely on the mound, yesterdays’ darkness will recede, but only a bit. After all, this is still baseball on the brink.

October 10th: Justin Verlander will wake up

feel a chill and stretch his arms, spreading his hairy limbs out parallel to the ground. His arms stretch out impossibly far, extending from the broad shoulders upon which we place our hopes. He will drink a cup of pumpkin spice coffee and eat a fresh apple with a breakfast sandwich. His hotel room will be silent, but vibrating with presence, gathering the moment. Everything is an instrument and Verlander now sees the threads that tie this world together, no longer looking past them, shaking things off. There is significance and importance to everything, even Don Kelly. "This is not just another game," he has said and verily he was correct. He has seen the Truth of the cosmos, a Greek word meaning order. The world is ordered and time is a cycle. Verladner has experienced Dionysian highs and lows and now, he himself is an autumnal god, returning to the exact same place at the exact same time to do the exact same thing. Unlike those of us too afraid to contemplate this return of sameness, Verlander has called this cycle divine and blessed it. He has lived for this moment, one that has come before and dare I say, will come again. Can this autumnal god handle another game 5 in Oakland? He will look into his heart, pondering his depths and answer his hotel room, "Yes, yes a thousand times yes. Not even the darkest darkness could stop me from grabbing this chance, this moment and making it my own." The sun will light up his empty hotel room and he will be as focused as the star that animates the entirety of life as we know it.

The game will begin with a shocking sight — an Austin Jackson double. Torii Hunter and Miguel will each hit sac flies, giving the Tigers an early lead. Prince will strike out, but this one run will look gigantic in quick order. Verlander will stand on the mound, jaw clamped, lips tight and eyes on fire. He will K two and get out of the first with twelve pitches. The hair on the back of our necks will stand up. We will look at loved ones, almost too shocked to hope — "Could this be?" we will ask, "Is his triumph and the A’s doom fated yet again on this very same stage?"

By the fifth inning the lead now 2-0, it will look eerily similar to the past. Verlander will have given up one walk and two hits by this point, looking utterly dominant. Sonny Gray’s boyish mustache will look silly pitching against Verlander who today will embody manliness and courage. Verlander will take the mound in the ninth inning with a 6 run lead, 10 Ks and only four hits. "It can’t be," we will think, "can it?" He will close it out with 130 pitches and 12 Ks, outdoing his performance last year and letting out a yell so loud and triumphant it will actually scare people. He will loom large now, our hero, the A’s’ bogeyman. Don Kelly’s faith will be so restored in baseball and life that he will hardly believe it ever wavered months ago. Phil Coke will even glean some joy from this shining moment.

After the game, Verlander will smile but will be distant, aloof. "It is not over," he will repeat, all riddles. Again, the media will not know what to think. Despite his smile, he will look sad. No one will understand why, but JV has his reasons.

The hilarity of all of this is that the team representing moneyball par excellence has lost two years in a row to the highest paid pitcher in baseball history. "Haha," we will laugh, "Hahahaha!" Crude moneyball puns will ensue. Our smugness will not make us attractive, but it is another vintage baseball twist too delicious to be left unenjoyed. Celebrations will be had and all of the good people in Michigan physically or just in spirit will be wildly hung-over on Friday. Verlander himself will drink three bottles of wine in front of Porcello, shocking the young pitcher uninitiated in the sacred rites. Fresh DOOM will be opened almost immediately concerning the Red Sox. Looking back over post game interviews Friday afternoon, desperately trying to get our shit together, we will find one clue to our Verlander riddle — we will learn that after the game he said, "It is not the Red Sox that worry me." This is a thought too horrible to think. We will put it away and throw up in the bathroom.

October 12th: Today Anibal Sanchez will hold the Red Sox and their beards in contempt

Having long been an advocate for the perfectly manicured beard, he will show his distaste for the slovenly Boston players. He will strike out 12 over 6 and 2/3, but will leave due to pitch count problems. Much to everyone’s surprise, the bullpen will keep the Red Sox away from home plate for the duration of the game, sealing a Tigers victory. Pundits will still talk about how bad the relievers are at their jobs, despite another solid performance. Phil Coke will sit there unused, like some silent specter of doom, destruction and must not win games. He will bother everyone with his very presence.

The offense will also perform quite well, despite being a concern. Jackson will go 2-5 with two doubles and two strikeouts. "I guess that’s cool?" we will all think. Miguel will hit a home run, bat flipping a metaphorical middle finger to all of those who doubted him. Prince will hit a pesky pole home run. Iglesias will have two infield singles. In other words, everyone will be firing on all cylinders. The Tigers will win this one and it won’t even be particularly close, 6 to 2.

After the game, consensus will be that this was a big day for the Tigers. Torii will talk about eating, Sanchez will be grateful for run support. Only Justin Verlander will be sad. "It is easy to reaffirm the October cycle on game five versus the A’s," he thinks, "but is it all happening over again exactly as before? What claims do the past have on us? Can anything be undone?" he says, out loud now. "Or are we doomed to travel an endless circle, constantly confronting ourselves, our victories as well as our defeats? Is every action forever, a burned scar on the universe that gathers us?" Sitting by his side at the bar, Porcello will have no answers for him. The young starting pitcher is not as far advanced as JV and doesn’t see the whole as clearly as Justin. Verlander will smile at Porcello’s innocence. "I guess we will have to see, Rick," he says wistfully, draining another bottle of cabernet. Porcello will make a Good Will Hunting joke, causing Justin to hate him for a brief moment. Still, for everyone else rooting for the Tigers, today will just be a tremendous Saturday

October 13th: Clay Buchholz

will pitch well, despite looking like a heroin addict and having the name Buchholz. Twitter will highlight these two facts about him, but he will go seven innings and allow two runs. One of those runs will come on a Miguel home run that stays fair near the Pesky Pole. Following two strikeouts, this home run will be a welcome sight indeed. Prince Fielder will drive in another run in the fourth with an RBI single to left field. Rounding first with his hair swaying in the wind, he will flash that smile. People on the Internet will continue to complain about how he only hits singles and how "that is not what he is getting paid for." Why do people think Prince’s contract has a "no singles" clause? Who knows?

Max Scherzer will look like an ecstatic child and will one up Buchholz. He will go seven innings and not allow a single run. He will strike out 11 and really rock out. He will yell and fist pump and dominate. His differently colored eyes will shine with sheer glee at the fact that he can throw a small ball so fast that people cannot hit it with a stick. This simple ability will bring all of us joy.

In the eight inning, terrible things will happen. AlAl will walk two people. Phil Coke will be called upon to get David Ortiz. Phil Coke will throw a slider down the heart of the plate. The human being known as Big Papi will destroy this pitch. Phil Coke will initially point at the ball, thinking it will be caught by Austin Jackson. Jackson will not move, knowing before Phil that Coke made a bad again. Coke will put his hand down, embarrassed, and hang his head. "Did AlAl and Phil Coke just lose a game as though it were the regular season?" we will all ask, baffled. "Yes, that is exactly what happened. Why? Why? Why?" Jose Veras, Drew Smyly and Rick Porcello will just sit there, unused and silent. Ueherah will get the save.

After the game, Max will be understandably bummed. "I battled out there all day, but you’ve got to give credit to those guys. They’re a good team and put together solid at bats." His eyes will be brown and blue pools of sadness. Leyland will have hell to pay after authoring such a shit show. He will grumble and hem and haw and say Phil Coke is a good pitcher. His gall will shock everyone.

Justin Verlander will be joyous. He will jump up and down alone and scream. "It isn’t the same!!!" he will yell to the universe. "The cycle is broken and now I control our fate," he says, quieter now. "Everything is in line and I will be an autumnal god." If his arms had any hair on them, those hairs would stand up just contemplating this thought. As it is he will just go silent, standing at the edge of a world full of possibility.

No one will watch any of this because there are adult men fighting each other for money on TV.

October 15th: Justin Verlander was the only Detroit supporter

who celebrated Sunday night. Watching at home and drinking bourbon, he aped the security guard when Ortiz hit his home run. The threat of a sweep over, he felt alive on the edge of a world with seemingly endless possibilities and ample opportunity to become the autumnal god he has dreamed himself to be all season long. He slept easy that night, treasuring his bed, his light bourbon buzz and his destiny. He didn’t dream of any sweeps, the good kind or the bad kind.

Today, he will be all focus. "What does one do when one’s closer starts doing Papa Grande impersonations?" he asks himself. "Complete game. Attack the strike zone. Avoid Ortiz. Strike out everything." Solid game plan Justin, solid game plan. Will he execute? Of course he will. Jason Verlander is dead. Justin killed him a month ago on a mushroom trip as he stared into a mirror and didn’t recognize who he saw. "This Jason is not a Cy Young winner, he is a corncob who can’t even throw strikes. I will blot him out from this earth and his very existence will be forgotten." He threw a fastball at the mirror, destroying it and Jason Verlander in one fell swoop. Hours later Justin came down from his psychedelic experience and returned, finally, back to himself. "Justin Verlander," he said lovingly, "Justin Verlander." Today Justin Verlander will throw 130 pitches and allow nary a run, dominating through nine innings.

Miguel will hit a home run in the first inning and the Tigers will smell blood. Jhonny Peralta will go 3-4, having yet another big day. Prince will hit two singles, even though we’re told he is not paid to do that. Andy Dirks will be excited to make the most of his opportunity, but he will be so bad that everyone will question in the depths of their hearts whether maybe Don Kelly should’ve played. How far has Dirks fallen, forcing us to think such things?

After the game, momentum, though it doesn’t exist, will shift. People will coo about Verlander and talk about the starting pitching, in awe at the neutered Boston offense. In interviews, Verlander will be genuinely happy and relaxed. "I have no riddles for you today, gentlemen," Verlander will tell them. "Baseball can be fickle, but today it was good."

Many of us will not get to enjoy this wondrous day that Justin will anoint "good," because MLB is dumb and doesn’t realize that no one has the ability to watch TV in the afternoon and even if they could, they would not be in the mood to buy Viagra.

Today will be a dark day for the Tigers

By all accounts, Justin Verlander has been the autumnal god he always knew he was, and yet… This gut wrenching series will cause a sad incident to unfold — Don Kelly approaches Lamont, "I’m scared, Mr. Lamont," Don Kelly says, scared. "Justin Verlander has been our October god, but we are 1-2. If our god had fled, we could hope that he would return. If he had failed us, we could assume he had a plan. But, Gene, what do we do when our god is here," he points over to Verlander, sitting in the corner, despondent in all of his power and glory, "but isn’t enough? What does it mean when even his power cannot save us from the dark and bottomless waters upon which we find ourselves?" Lamont takes a long drink of bourbon and says, "I’m sorry you feel that way Donnie." Kelly continues, as if against his volition, "Is there a power greater than that in which we’ve put our faith? It doesn’t make sense, how are we 1-2?" Lamont takes another large drink and thinks. There are plenty of small reasons — your Austin Jacksons, LOBSTERS, Benoits, Ortizes, Leylands and the Fates themselves — but Lamont doesn’t see things this way. He can step back from the trees and see the whole forrest. Looking at the whole, Lamont answers in the only way one could, "I don’t know, Donnie." This last bit leaves The Wizard crestfallen, adrift upon a midnight raft at sea. There is no shore and there is no ship.

Will the Tigers win today? Can they overcome a dark force more powerful than their almighty savior of the last seven years? Unfortunately, like Lamont, I do not know. We have again sunk to the valleys in which the arc of baseball is hidden with mist and fog. The baseball gods and their oracles remain silent. If the Tigers do survive this storm, their starting pitchers will do so like Ishmael, by clinging to the coffin of the Tigers’ offense, formerly their greatest ally. They can only hope that this symbol of death and loss can bring them a playoff rebirth and victory.

As for us, we can only hold our small candles, dim lights of hope, up towards the darkness of October baseball threatening the world and its very core with a Red Sox/Cardinals series.

October 17th: Jim Leyland will grumble, swear, grumble

and the press will eat it up. His brilliant lineup will remain the same today, because Leyland is steadfast even when he changes. National writers will call this a "must-win" for Boston, violating all copyrights of that term and ignoring that it can be applied exclusively to the Tigers. It appears that the non-existant momentum has shifted. When asked about momentum, Leyland will remain silent. They will ask him again. "Well," he will say, taking a big pause. "Sanchez is pretty good." This will annoy all of the writers, but Tigers fans will appreciate Leyland’s secret dig at the media’s use of vapid and hollow terminology. The writers will go back to praising his lineup. Leyland will find that he rather enjoys being celebrated rather than ridiculed and he will consider never pitching Phil Coke again. "Naw, Cokies due," he will think.

The Ice Cream Man will be generous in his giving today. The clouds will break, the rain will pass and Anibal will feel grateful just for the opportunity to pitch. Illuminated by man made lights, under an ethereal sky of silky black patterns, he will realize that everything belongs somewhere and he is in his proper place. He also knows that NERTS misses playing baseball and he wants to give them something to celebrate together. He will resolve not to give up six walks this time. He will also settle for allowing three hits in an attempt to keep his pitch count under control, afraid of the bullpen. Sanchez will feel comfortable at Comerica and he will show the Red Sox how baseball is played — with flair, a perfectly manicured beard and deception. The ball will dart in and out of the zone, fooling hitters and occasionally striking them out with 96 mph heat. Someone who doesn’t know what words mean will say that he isn’t a power pitcher. Anibal, of course, doesn’t care about what they say. Having long been called Anabelle, he has given up on educating morons, let alone listening to them. Instead, he will just own the Red Sox again, going 7 and 2/3, striking out 11 and walking one.

With Ortiz due up, Leyland will call on his "left handed specialist at giving up extra base hits to left handed hitters" and Coke will do his job. AlAl will come in and strand Ortiz at second. When even AlAl has his shit together more than you, it is time to face the hard questions. Phil Coke will resolutely refuse to do so, speaking to no one after the game. All for the best, since he couldn’t form a coherent sentence if he tried, existing as he does now solely on Budweiser and candy cigarettes.

The Tigers will have a sizable lead by the ninth. Austin will have another big day, the eight hole being the most magic of holes. Omar’s secret to success will be exposed. Soon Leyland will be ridiculed for letting AJ hit eighth and it will be hilarious. Prince will go 2-4 with two singles, still the only one who doesn’t know that they don’t pay him for that. The Tigers rejuvenated and re-arranged offense will put up five runs, plenty to pull this one out, even after some further scary Benoit antics in the ninth. This Benoit situation will be upgraded to orange, but will still remain in the "do not think about" pile.

After the game, Anibal and NERTS will eat ice cream even though it is uncomfortably cold. Routine and friendship trump the actual enjoyment gleaned from the act. Leyland and Phil Coke will drink in silence together, Leyland smoking, Phil chewing chalky white pieces of sugar. Don Kelly and Lamont will drink Irish whisky together, watching reruns of Frasier in Kelly’s apartment. Kelly will apologize for his dark mood yesterday. "What dark mood?" Lamont will ask, legitimately not remembering. The Wizard will just shake his heard. Prince and Cecil will have post game nachos. JV and Porcello will go to their favorite bar and JV will not even make fun of Porcello for drinking cranberry vodkas. Little Victor will fall asleep lying on Victor’s chest on the couch. Despite the ever-increasing stakes and scrutiny, the Tigers will be comfortable in their private lives, safe at home

October 19th: Things will be dicey today,

living on the brink. Scherzer will allow an early run, causing universal panic. The Red Sox fans will cheer on Big Papi and boo Peralta, oblivious to their own hypocrisy. "Is this how it ends?" we will wonder. "Defeated by bearded bozos from Boston?" We will linger on that thought for a while, appreciating how terrible it feels. In the fourth inning, Boston leading 2-0, that unnamed feeling will again overtake Tigers nation. Off-season talk will end, Fielder’s struggles will go unmentioned, and the silence will again be a vacuum. The season will swing in the balance, ventured forth into the open, unshielded. We will be sad spectators and helpless witnesses. Trapped in front of the TV, trapped in our bodies, trapped in this life with all of its inevitability. We will drink. We will drink and we will wait. For a whole inning this silent vigil will prepare the coming of something beautiful.

In the sixth inning that beautiful something will begin to unfold inconspicuously with an Iglesias infield single. Torii Hunter will strike out. "Cool, fucking LOBSTERS," we will think bitterly. Miguel will get a single, moving Iglesias to third. Prince will ground into what should be an inning ending double play, but Pedroia will throw it away, gamer that he is. Iglesias scores, Fielder to second. With two outs, Victor will single up the middle, obviously. Brookens will decide not to end the inning with Prince getting thrown out at home. Jhonny Peralta will walk from the on deck circle, round faced and inscrutable. He will coil his bat in that weird way that he does and promptly hit a three run home run, giving the Tigers a lead and pissing off Boston pretty bad. In awe, Tiger nation will hope again. Hope for a win, hope for Justin Verlander, hope that maybe this time it is the time.

Max Scherzer will take this opportunity and never let it go. He will pound the strike zone and end the eighth with 110 pitches. "Holy shit," Lamont will say to Kelly. "Is he going to do what I think he’s going to do, on today of all the days?" Kelly will smile, "Lamont must be pretty drunk to talk this much," he thinks to himself. Kelly will reply, "Max is a gamer, Gene. Enjoy the show." He will pinch Lamont’s cheeks and run out to play left field for the ninth inning of Max’s first career complete game.

On the mound, Scherzer will feel the hair stand up on the back of his neck as the force of the moment sets in. He will look around at his teammates and the angry mob in the stands. "There’s no reason to save anything now," Max will think. "Tomorrow isn’t promised." He will pause, holding the ball. "Tomorrow is never promised," Scherzer reflects. Pondering this timeless but overlooked truth, he decides to make it into a song, a celebration. The ninth inning will be Max’s ode to life. He will be shockingly nasty, holding nothing in reserve. He will hit 99 on the radar gun to strike out the final batter of the game, relishing the groan of the crowd. He will fist pump so hard that Brian McCann will break his TV.

After the game, Justin Verlander will finally be in position to become who he is, a daunting task that will require much courage.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of the <em>Bless You Boys</em> writing staff.

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