The party in the clubhouse didn't really get rolling until Justin Verlander showed up.

That was fitting. Without Verlander, the Detroit Tigers would have had nothing to celebrate.

The offense for the Tigers did a nice job Thursday night in a 6-0 win over the Oakland A's in Game 5 of the American League Division Series. But let's tell it like it is: The Tigers would not be where they are if not for Verlander.

Actually, they would be in the same place for most of the day Friday: in Detroit. But instead of waiting to find out where they will open the AL Championship Series, they would be packing up their things and heading their separate ways for the winter.

The Tigers played five games in the ALDS. They won the first game and the last game with Verlander on the mound. In the three games in the middle -- tell it like it is -- the Tigers got outplayed by the A's.

Really, the Tigers were extremely fortunate to escape Game 2 with a 5-4 victory over the A's. They scored two runs on the memorable error by Coco Crisp, one on a ground ball that escaped being an inning-ending double play because it was poorly hit and another on a wild pitch.