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Doug Fister and three relievers held the Yankees to only two runs despite 10 hits and three walks, and the Tigers beat the Yankees 3-2 and advanced to the American League Championship Series.
Tuesday night, the Yankees beat the Tigers by nine. But the entire game might've turned on Granderson's leaping catch in the bottom of the first.
A.J. Burnett was the last pitcher Yankees fans wanted to see in this series. Curtis Granderson saved the day for Burnett and New York.
The Tigers took Game 3 of their ALDS matchup with the Yankees, winning 5-4. The game was billed as a pitcher's duel between Justin Verlander and CC Sabathia -- a pairing that was supposed to take place in Game 1 before that game was suspended due to rain. The Yankees got to Verlander early, scoring twice in the first inning, but Detroit's patience ultimately took its toll on Sabathia, who threw 106 pitches while laboring through 5 1/3 innings. Delmon Young's seventh-inning solo home run was ultimately the difference, though Jose Valverde certainly made things interesting in the final frame.
While the Tigers and Yankees were battling on the field, Baseball Nation's writers were analyzing the action. Here are the highlights from their Game 3 live blog:
• The Yankees' lineup has remained consistent in this series, but Jim Leyland made one change from the lineup he used in Game 1, the last time he prepared his team to face Sabathia: instead of Ryan Raburn starting at second base, Ramon Santiago got the nod. Why? Jeff Sullivan explained (emphasis mine):
Santiago is starting ahead of Ryan Raburn, and he's starting because he's 7-for-24 against Sabathia in his career, while Raburn is 4-for-24. Of course, Santiago is 7-for-24 with zero walks and one extra-base hit (a double), and of course this matchup data has been shown to be of negligible value in the past, but there's your explanation, and anything can happen over a one-game sample.
Leyland's hunch worked: Santiago proceeded to pick up two hits and drive in two runs with Sabathia in the game. But we're getting ahead of ourselves!
His first pitch of the game was a high fastball that Derek Jeter grounded right back up the middle for a base hit. That ended the no-hitter before it began, and then Curtis Granderson followed by preventing the shutout as well. In a 1-and-2 count, Verlander gave Granderson a high-away fastball that Granderson plastered into left-center for an RBI triple.
• Sabathia struggled with his control early, to say the least. From Rob Neyer:
CC Sabathia walked four Tigers in the first two innings. Thanks to two double plays, he didn't give up any runs. It also helped a lot that the walks weren't accompanied by any hits.
In case you're wondering, Sabathia had not walked more than four hitters in a game in nearly two full seasons; on the 22nd of April in 2010, Sabathia walked six Athletics.
• Speaking of double plays, five consecutive half-innings had one. Fortunately for Detroit, that didn't stop them from tying the game. From Sullivan:
In the bottom of the third, Sabathia had the bases loaded and nobody out with the heart of the Tigers order coming up, but Cabrera's double play kicked the rally in the throat. Victor Martinez then grounded out to finish the frame.
The good news for Detroit is that Cabrera's double play scored the tying run, and we're even at 2-2 in the fourth. But Sabathia has been on the ropes, and the Tigers have let him off easy.
• The Tigers eventually took a 3-2 lead, and forced Sabathia out of the game. That made Grant Brisbee wonder, did Sabathia just throw his last pitch as a Yankee?
A lot would have to fall into place, so this isn't necessarily a "Fare thee well, CC!" update. The Yankees would have to lose the series, for one. And then Sabathia would need to opt out of his contract, which he can do after this season. He's due $92 million after this year, and he could want to see if he can get a little more guaranteed money as he advances in age. And then the Yankees would have to not be the team who gives him that money. It's unlikely we just watched Sabathia's last game as a Yankee.
You think the Red Sox might throw some money at Sabathia if he hits the market? How is this even a question?
• Verlander continued doing what Verlander does, namely strike guys out. In the sixth inning, Alex Rodriguez could only stand and watch:
• In the top of the seventh, the Yankees scraped together a couple of runs to tie the game at 4-4, but then Delmon Young swung for the fences and put the final run of the game on the board.
During the regular season, Delmon Young hit 12 home runs, and not a one of them flew out to right field. You could argue that not a one of them even truly flew out to center field, either.
During the postseason, Delmon Young has hit two home runs, and both of them have flown out to right field. He hit the first in the first inning of the first game, in Yankee Stadium. He hit the second just a few minutes ago, and it was a big one.
Verlander finished the game by throwing 120 pitches over eight innings, eventually giving way to Jose Valverde in the ninth. Valverde picked up the final three outs, but not before walking Jorge Posada and Brett Gardner and nearly sending all of southeastern Michigan into cardiac arrest. Derek Jeter ended the game with a swinging strikeout, which prompted Papa Grande's surprisingly tame celebration:
Justin Verlander wasn't the best he's ever been, but still he worked eight strong innings, and he got just enough support for the Tigers to pull ahead of the Yankees 2-1 in their playoff best-of-five.
Following the nervous conclusion to Game 2, Jose Valverde remarked that the Tigers/Yankees ALDS would end in Detroit, with the Tigers advancing. This has no effect on anybody.
Max Scherzer threw six scoreless innings, Miguel Cabrera homered and drove in three runs, and the Tigers have tied the Yankees at one game apiece.
The New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers finally got Game 1 into the box on Saturday, some 24 hours after it should have ended. A large rain-storm on Friday night threw the series schedule off, forcing the two teams to pick the action back up on Saturday with the score tied at one.
The Yankees were able to take care of the Tigers to snag the early 1-0 series lead with a strong 9-3 win on Saturday night. Below are the highlights from the marathon live-blog, which began with the first pitch on Friday, was interrupted by rain, and ended on Saturday night.
Play resumed in the bottom of the second on Saturday, with Doug Fister on the mound as a "reliever." The Yankees quickly put runners on second and third, only to see Jorge Posada get thrown out 90 feet from the plate as he was caught napping on a ground to the left side of the infield. Though Fister struggled, he was able to make it out of the inning alive.
That didn't mean the end of trouble, though. See, while facing Derek Jeter, Fister balked, pushing runners to second and third once more. But no matter! On four pitches, Jeter whiffed. And then, on eight pitches, Curtis Granderson whiffed. The Yankees had good chances to take the lead with talented hitters at the plate, but a baserunning mistake and two strikeouts allowed Fister to escape unscathed.
In the fifth, Ivan Nova worked himself into a jam, but with a nice relay from Derek Jeter, the Yankees were able to escape with the score still knotted at one. As you can see below, Russell Martin almost had his head taken off.
In the bottom of the inning, Robinson Cano broke the tie, doubling off the top of the wall on a ball that came just inches from leaving the yard -- the play was reviewed and the double was confirmed. Just an inning later, though, Fister crumbled, and the Yankees plated all the runs they needed. After giving up two more runs, Fister left the game in favor of Al Alburquerque, who Cano promptly welcomed with a grand slam.
The right-handed Alburquerque gave the left-handed Robinson Cano an 0-and-1 slider inside, and Cano pulled it way out to deep, deep right for a grand slam that blew the game open. Three of the four runs were charged to Fister, and one to Alburquerque, but that doesn't really matter - what matters is that the Yankees all but have a 1-0 series lead. Just the way they drew it up!
It was all Yankees would need as they cruised to a 9-3 Game 1 win to take the first game of the series.
Cano launched a grand slam and drove in six runs, and Nova was strong in relief of CC Sabathia as the Yankees took a 1-0 series lead over the Tigers.
The Yankees and Tigers aren't the only ones whose plans were changed by Friday night's rain.
Game 1 of the ALDS between the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees was supposed to bring us a pitchers' duel for the ages. However, pouring rain has forced a suspension, which is obviously not good news for Justin Verlander or CC Sabathia, who had already put in some work.
The new pitching schedules? For Detroit, Verlander will now pitch Game 3, on Monday. Doug Fister will go Saturday when Game 1 resumes, Max Scherzer will go Sunday in Game 2, and Rick Porcello will go Tuesday in Game 4 (if necessary), with Fister slated for Game 5.
For New York? Ivan Nova will pitch Saturday and Freddy Garcia will pitch Sunday, with Sabathia probably pitching against Verlander in Game 3. Should he need a fourth starter, Joe Girardi is considering A.J. Burnett.
The downside here for the Tigers is that Saturday's Game 1 lineup will face a righty even though it was put together to face a lefty. The Yankees get it worse, though, because all of a sudden, Sabathia will start only one game, where he was originally likely to get two if the series advanced beyond three games. That's a big, big blow.
So that's the way things are for now. We'll see whether rain causes further complications on Saturday. Which it very well might.
Our friendly TBS broadcast just brought us a conversation between Tom Verducci and Joe Torre, and Joe Torre shared some rather unpleasant but unsurprising news: Game 1 of the Yankees/Tigers ALDS has been suspended by rain.
The Friday forecast in New York called for rain, but it was supposed to be considerably lighter, with a playable window. Instead, pounding rain arrived in the second inning of a 1-1 game, and the radar showed no signs of the rain letting up any time soon. That forced Major League Baseball to make a decision it very much did not want to make.
So the new plan? Game 1 will pick up where it left off on Saturday, at 8:37pm ET. The score will be 1-1, and the Yankees will come to bat for the bottom of the second inning.
Game 2, meanwhile, has been pushed to Sunday, at 3:07pm ET. Sunday had previously been a scheduled travel day, but now the Yankees and Tigers will not get a day off in between Game 2 and Game 3.
That's the new plan. For now. A problem? The forecast calls for more rain over the weekend. Everyone will hope that they can get a game in on Saturday, but should rain pose a problem again,
Sunday could conceivably bring us a playoff doubleheader. A playoff doubleheader! Ken Rosenthal reports that they'll push the games back once more and eliminate the scheduled Wednesday off day.
So, it's raining in New York. It's raining a lot.
CC Sabathia just barely made it through the top of the second, and finished with a flourish as he racked up his fourth strikeout already. At that point -- 9:06 Eastern Daylight Time -- the umpires stopped the game and summoned the grounds crew with the tarpaulin.
Initially, it looked like the heavy rains might pass quickly, with a substantial rainless window on the way.
Storms are funny, though; they're dynamic, and like to surprise you. Here's the latest radar, and that window has disappeared ...
Again, these things do change with little warning. But to our uneducated eyes, it looks like the Bronx is in for a lot of rain for some hours yet. Will Commissioner Selig allow the contest to resume at midnight? Pushing the conclusion past two in the morning? That seems highly doubtful, so at the moment there seems to be a real good chance that this one gets called.
What happens next? When would this game be made up? How would the teams' pitching plans be affected?
Friday's Game 1 of the Tigers/Yankees ALDS got off to a bad start for the hosts, when Delmon Young took CC Sabathia out to the opposite field in the top of the first. That gave Justin Verlander a quick 1-0 lead, and, you know, Verlander with a lead...
But the Yankees weren't behind long. They got that run back in the bottom half, and, more, they got that run back without recording a hit. Derek Jeter reached base on a strikeout when a low slider got away from Alex Avila. Curtis Granderson walked to push Jeter to second, Robinson Cano grounded out to push Jeter to third, and Alex Rodriguez grounded out to bring Jeter home.
The Yankees wouldn't score again and stranded runners on the corners, but they did even things at 1-1, and forced Verlander to throw 25 pitches. He walked two guys and isn't yet in a rhythm.
Sabathia, on the other hand, might be in a rhythm. In the top of the second, he needed 12 pitches to retire three bats, with two by strikeout. Sabathia's up to four strikeouts through seven batters.
Unfortunately, the second inning also brought a rain delay, as the tarp came out after Sabathia's last pitch.
The second was played through driving rain, and the conditions were no longer workable. There's reportedly a window during which the game might be resumed, but the radar suggests more rain later. Also, one has to wonder what effect this current delay might have on Verlander and Sabathia. At least it'll hurt both teams about the same.
Delmon Young hit 12 home runs this season: four with the Twins, then eight with the Tigers after joining the club in the middle of August.
Of those 12 home runs, exactly zero were hit to the opposite field. Delmon Young is a pull-hitter, and so he hits his home runs over the left-field fence. Not the center-field fence. The left-field fence. This year, anyway.
Until tonight, that is. With two outs in the top of the first inning -- oh, and why is Young batting third in the lineup, Jim Leyland? -- Young got a fastball roughly in the middle of the strike zone from CC Sabathia and sliced it into the second row of seats, just beyond the right-field fence.
You know, just in case Friday's first game wasn't enough to question your ability to predict the baseball future.
Young's home run was a solo shot, and Sabathia retired Miguel Cabrera on a ground ball to end the inning.
Tigers 1, Yankees 0 after the top of the first inning.
We're almost underway in the second ALDS of the day, pitting the Detroit Tigers up against the New York Yankees. Everybody is present and accounted for in New York, and before too long we'll be into the first inning.
The whole narrative surrounding this game, if not the series, is that the Tigers have Justin Verlander, and the Yankees don't. That Verlander gives the Tigers an edge of which they need to take advantage. You can kind of understand where people are coming from, since Verlander finished 24-5 with a 2.40 ERA in 34 starts. Those are fantastic numbers, and Verlander's Game 1 opponent - CC Sabathia - finished at 19-8 and 3.00 in 33. Those numbers suggest that, in Game 1, the Tigers will throw the better arm.
Verlander led Sabathia in ERA this season, but if you concentrate on the things over which pitchers actually have direct control, Sabathia was every bit as good, if not a tiny bit better. And it's not like Sabathia isn't a workhorse. CC Sabathia is pretty much the definition of a workhorse.
In Game 1, the Tigers will be starting Justin Verlander. He's great. The Yankees will be starting CC Sabathia. he's also great. Statistically, he's just as great. There are no clear edges here, and that's exactly why I'm looking forward to this game as much as I am.
The Detroit Tigers get to throw Justin Verlander, which gives them a neat little head start. But Verlander can't win without support, so the Tigers are going with a starting lineup Friday night to supplement Verlander's arm. I have to say, I think it's a pretty solid strategy on Jim Leyland's part. The nine guys he'll send up against CC Sabathia, via @OFFICIAL_TIGERS, which is a very emphatic Twitter account:
That's a better 4-through-6 than you might think, as Cabrera, Martinez and Avila posted OPS+ figures of 181, 132, and 143, respectively. It's a much weaker 1-through-3, but then all three top guys are righties, so they'll have the platoon advantage against the lefty Sabathia. And for whatever it's worth, Young performed much better following a mid-season trade from the Twins. Not to suggest that we can just throw out his numbers from Minnesota, but he's lifted his game.
Wilson Betemit will be available off the bench should Leyland come to realize that Brandon Inge is bad. It's also worth noting that Martinez is playing through a bruised toe, through the nail of which Tigers trainers had to drill a hole the other day to relieve pressure. So, yeah, sit back and think about that a little.
The narrative, as far as I can tell, is that the Detroit Tigers will go as far as Justin Verlander can take them. That isn't true, but it is what it is. And the Yankees aren't about to let Verlander just waltz right through without a challenge in Game 1 - they've drafted a whole nine-man starting lineup. Wow! The lineup, courtesy of @YankeesPR, is:
No surprises in here, not that you would expect any. Rodriguez is back after skipping Wednesday night's game against the Rays with a knee problem. Posada is DH'ing because Verlander is right-handed, and Posada hit .269 on the year against righties with an .814 OPS. The Yankees intend to use Posada and Jesus Montero as a DH platoon, but the Tigers won't be starting any lefties in this series, so Posada it is. Montero does still exist as a good potential weapon off the bench.
The Yankees send CC Sabathia to the mound against Justin Verlander for the Tigers in Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Friday night.
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