The Detroit Tigers have knocked the Oakland Athletics out of the playoffs the last two years running and have beat them the last three times they've met in the post season going back to 2006. Never one to hold his tongue and realizing the two teams may be heading toward a third consecutive post season meeting, Justin Verlander believes there's a method to Billy Beane's madness in trading the A's top prospects to the Chicago Cubs for starting pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel.
"I found it very interesting," Verlander said Saturday. "Really, when I saw that trade, I thought that they made that trade for us. No doubt about it in my mind. If they want to win a World Series, they're envisioning that they have to go through us, and even though it's been two fantastic series, it's been heartbreaking for them the last two years."
Verlander goes on to remind everyone he has been lights out against the A's in series deciding games. Both A's and Tigers fans remember Verlander threw a complete game shutout in Game Five of the 2012 ALDS, following that up by firing eight shutout innings in Game Five of the 2013 ALDS.
"When you have a team like ours, somebody's going to go out there and dominate," Verlander said. "And it just happens the last couple years [against Oakland in Game 5], it's been me. And I think they felt like they needed that person. Star power in the playoffs goes a long way. Power pitching in the playoffs goes a long way."
The veteran right-hander then backpedals a tad, saying the Tigers, himself, and October baseball may not have been the only reasons the A's acquired Samardzija and Hammel.
"I think a lot of factors had to do with why they did it," Verlander said later. "Obviously October's the main one, not necessarily us but October in general."
As of today, if the Tigers and A's were meet in the playoffs for a third straight season, both teams would have to advance the ALCS.