Sure, maybe its not exactly the ALCS that Tigers fans wanted, but once Detroit was eliminated (pretty early on, as I am sure you recall) it was clear what the best match up for an ALCS would be: the red-hot Toronto Blue Jays versus the dominant Kansas City Royals.
First, I'd like to apologize to the Astros, Yankees, and Rangers for immediately excluding them from our personal preference. They were all feel-good stories -- typing that about the Yankees felt unnatural -- but would have left something to be desired in the ALCS. The Rangers have had some recent success, and didn't aspire a lot of excitement. The Astros, while an amazing story, faded down the stretch and Dallas Keuchel can't pitch every game. And the Yankees, well, I still have no idea how they even made the playoffs. Hell of a job by Joe Girardi.
To the matter at hand, the tantalizing matchup between the Jays and Royals. It has everything you want. The teams are a stark contrast of styles, with the Blue Jays blasting bombs left and right and the Royals taking pitches and smallballing everyone to death.
The pitching should add intrigue as well. Outside of David Price, Marcus Stroman, and whatever THAT playoff Johnny Cueto was, the starting pitching is surprisingly subpar. That should make for some runs. Can Kansas City get to its bullpen? Can I name more than two relievers for the Blue Jays (Osuna was on my fantasy team anddddd Brett Cecil still exists, right)?
Not to be overlooked, there is a chance for ridiculous volatility between the teams. The Blue Jays made it pretty clear in the last series that they will be playing with a ton of emotion, unwritten rules be damned. You know who loves to enforce unwritten rules? Your Kansas City Royals. Oh, and they have already scrapped this year. I'm conservatively setting the over/under on bench clearings at 3.5.
The playoffs have been nothing short of amazing entertainment so far. The Rangers-Blue Jays Game 5 might have been the most entertaining baseball game I have ever watched. This is the ALCS we wanted. Lets hope it delivers.
An illustrated United States history lesson about the bat flip - SB Nation, Nick Pants
Learn what they didn't tell you in American history class.
A look at 8 Detroit Tigers set for winter ball in Venezuela, Dominican Republic - MLive.com, James Schmehl
Winter ball is a chance for major league players to make some extra cash and work out some kinks during the offseason. Here's a look at the eight players on Detroit's 40-man roster set to play baseball in Venezuela and the Dominican Republic later this month.
Alex Avila leaving is a big deal for Detroit Tigers - Detroit Free Press, Tom Zahari
Alex Avila, though much maligned for his batting average, was a big part of the Tigers.
Salvador Perez "lost track of how many times he threw up and the diarrhea was worse" - HardballTalk, Aaron Gleeman
He had a great ALDS and a terrible week.
The Inning That Was Everything Baseball - FanGraphs Baseball, Jeff Sullivan
The 53 minute inning that was so awesome.