Max Scherzer will pitch the most important game of his career Saturday afternoon at Fenway Park in Boston.
It's Game 6 of the ALCS, and if the Tigers lose, their season is over, and the Red Sox go to the World Series for the third time in 10 seasons searching for their third title over that span.
If Scherzer and the Tigers win, it will force a Game 7 on Sunday night, with Justin Verlander on the hill against John Lackey.
The interesting story is how Scherzer got to Detroit in the first place. In 2009, Scherzer was with the Arizona Diamondbacks, battling for the number five starter job with Yusmeiro Petit.
Yes that's the same Petit, who came within one out of a perfect game, for the Giants back on September 6th against the Diamondbacks.
Heading into that season, the D-Backs were a highly touted outfit. In fact, I found an old article from the Bleacher Report, that praised their starting rotation of Brandon Webb, Daren Haren, Doug Davis , Jon Garland and either Scherzer or Petit as the best in the National League West and arguably the tops in all the Majors. That year, Arizona was 70-92 and was needless to say a huge disappointment.
Clearly a shake-up was in order. So on December 8, 2009, Arizona, Detroit and the New York Yankees concocted a monster three team deal involving seven players.
Initially, it seemed the Yanks got the best of the swap, in acquiring up and coming slugging centre fielder Curtis Granderson, from the Tigers.
Arizona landed two veteran arms in Edwin Jackson from Detroit and Ian Kennedy from the Yankees. Kennedy gave the D-backs one incredible season, but ultimately got traded to San Diego this season.
Detroit picked up four young players a couple of which were highly rated prospects. They got centre fielder Austin Jackson and lefty reliever Phil Coke from the Yankees, and a couple of pitchers from Arizona, Daniel Schlereth and yes Max Scherzer.
The deal didn't seem to help Arizona at all. The next season (2010) they tumbled to 65-97, and in-season replaced manager A.J Hinch with current skipper Kirk Gibson.
The Yankees got two solid seasons out of Granderson and an injury plagued 2013. Now Granderson is set to enter free agency and is by no means a lock to return to the "Pinstripes".
What do the Tigers have? Well they beat the Yankees a year ago to make it to the World Series where they ultimately lost to the Giants. They've got a right hander in Scherzer, who's poised to win his first Cy Young Award, a starting centre fielder in Jackson and serviceable reliever in Coke.
Now with Scherzer pitching Saturday, they've at least still got a chance to go to the World Series
for the third time in eight seasons. Sometimes, it takes a few years to analyze a trade, but clearly GM Dave Dombrowski and the Tigers won this one.
As a bit of a footnote, to this story, I saw one rumour, this week, that after the season, Detroit might actually consider trading Scherzer in the off-season.
That knocked me back a few steps, but Scherzer is eligible for arbitration after this season, and can become a free agent in 2015. Maybe the Tigers just don't think they can afford to have Scherzer and Justin Verlander on the same staff, or perhaps, they just want to keep growing and replenishing their system, the way they did with that epic three team deal in December of 2009.
A couple of former Blue Jays of World Series vintage were in the news this week. Darnell Coles
a valuable bench player on the '93 team, was promoted by Milwaukee to manage their Triple-A
farm club at Nashville.
Turner Ward a versatile outfield back-up with the club in '92 and '93 is the assistant hitting coach with Arizona. There is a chance he could be in for a promotion, since Don Baylor left the D-backs to become the hitting coach with the Angels. Ward was a huge fan favourite in Toronto.