I really wish I wasn't writing this. In fact, I'm not going to bother recapping this game, much as it was a pretty ho-hum elimination. Suffice it to say, Sonny Gray was decent but not unbelievable, and he needed to be unbelievable (again) to win tonight. A high-and-away fastball to Miguel Cabrera wasn't even his worst pitch of the night, but it was bad enough for Cabrera to wrist it over the left field fence with a runner on to make it 2-0. A botched potential double play ball brought in another run for them, but one was really all they needed. I don't second-guess Melvin with the decision to start Gray, because it was the right one, but it sucks for him that his season ends on such a sour note. The reality is that Gray was so much better than any of us imagined, and he will be a big part of the rotation for years to come.
This game was all about Justin Verlander. He appeared to have all his pitches working tonight, and while the A's avoided the ignominy of being no-hit, he pitched at his peak tonight. It didn't take much to read between the lines of Jim Leyland's pre-game comments when he said that Verlander would also be available out of the bullpen tonight. He was their best and only pitcher they needed.
The truth is that the A's lost this series in Game 4; that was their best opportunity to take the series. Poor execution and some bad luck cost them that game, and this was an uphill battle with Verlander on mound on regular rest. The bright side is that the A's competition window is by no means closed; much of this team will return + a full year of Gray in the rotation will make 2014 interesting.
So, until next year, folks. For myself and the rest of the game-threading crew, it's been a pleasure hosting threads for you guys. The front-page writers group will still be here in the offseason, keeping content fresh and trying to hold down the fort until Spring Training. Au revoir.