This postseason we have seen some disputed calls, historic comebacks and injuries. Teams have been retired to watch from afar not from a dugout.
The Yankees ~ a proven team, always seem to be in the postseason mix. Since the season ending injury to SS Derek Jeters late in Game 1 of the ALCS, they have definitely seen better days. However, in their first game against the Tigers, even with Jeters in the game, they lost 6-4. Game 2, they were shutout, 3-0 … and that was while they were playing at Yankee Stadium. Being in Detroit, the Tigers took Game 3, 2-1.
The Yankees find themselves in a possible “one and done” situation for tonight ~ or… they begin to come out of their slump for yet another great comeback. If not to win the ALCS series, at least to give the Tigers a run for the title and pennant. The Yankees hope will be on the mound tonight. Yankees SP CC Sabathia, 15-6/3.38.
Sabathia last pitched against the Orioles to take the win, 3-1, which advanced the Yankees to the ALCS. He “pitched a four-hitter, wriggling out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth inning. It was his first complete game in 17 postseason starts, and the first for the Yankees since Roger Clemens did it in 2000.” He has been on ‘rest’ detail since last Friday and was not scheduled to pitch until today’s game ~ Game 4. We will see CC bring his team back on track giving them the confidence they need. For the Tigers in today’s game will be SP Max Scherzer, 16-7/3.74.
Last night, it was a pitching duel between Yankees SP Hughes and Tigers SP Verlander. Both holding the opposition in check through the third with no runs. However, Hughes excellent pitching began to falter in the fourth for the Yankees. Tigers’ D. Young hit a home run over left field on a 1-2 count. Hughes was retired due to a stiff back. Followed by RP Phelps, who closed out the fourth, but allowed a hit by M Cabrera in the fifth for an RBI. Even though, the Yankees bullpen held the Tigers without any further runs in the game.
The Tigers SP Justin Verlander continued on course, looking to give the Yankees yet another shutout with only a couple of single hits by the Yankees. The Yankees saw a glimmer of hope with a lead-off homer by Nunez in the ninth off Verlander. He was retired and the Tigers sent in CP Phil Coke. Coke allowed two hits, with two outs on the board. But, he was able to wrap things up for the Tigers striking out Ibanez, leaving two runners stranded ~ giving Verlander the win, and adding a second save to his postseason stats.
The Yankees did lose their first game to the Tigers … along with losing Derek Jeters. Are we seeing proof that one player can make a difference ~ not only on the field or at the plate ~ but as a great ‘support system’ for his team. It’s not like the Yankees have never lost a game ~ just surprising how their performance has been lacking during this series. Losing Jeters definitely left the Yankees without one of their big hitters, but he’s not the only one in their arsenal. Not injured is Alex Rodriguez. His hitting has gone down the drain and was once again benched earlier in the game last night by manager Girardi. Even though, the Yankees have Cano, Granderson, Nunez, Suzuki and Swisher who have been key hitters for the Yankees, along with Jeters. Or, have the Yankees come to an untimely slump, which we know it can happen which is not unknown in baseball.
The Yankees faced the Tigers three times in regular season taking five games out of the nine games played. They have faced the Tigers pitchers before … but it was with Derek Jeters in the mix. With elimination facing them, now would be the time for the Yankees to chart a different course. Knowing that Jeters will not be returning, will CC Sabathia be the force ~ the spark~ the Yankees need. Time will tell.
Even with the very real demise facing the Yankees, I can not take away the great play by the Tigers. Not only offensively putting runs on the board, but their pitching staff has proven themselves to be worthy opponents in holding the Yankees winless. They came back to take the AL Central Division title away from the Chicago White Sox in regular season. They have continued excellent performances throughout postseason. With hard work and working as a team ~ they have earned their status … taking one game at a time. Should the Tigers sweep the Yankees tonight … or take the series in the end, they will win the pennant after a seven year dry spell and be World Series bound.
The Cardinals and the Giant begin Game 3 in St. Louis later this afternoon, tied in the NLCS series. Rain is in the forecast for the Midwest for today into this evening, with periods of clearing ~ so a rain delay may be possible. Predicted west winds of 10-15 mph, with gusts up to 30, and temps to begin to drop. The wind factor shouldn’t be too concerning in Busch Stadium ~ but with 30 mph gusts swirling in the outfield, could make a difference at times.
Enjoy your day ~ Always, Elichap