Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tigers Near Pennant Behind Verlander Domination

Joe Girardi's "Make-a-Wish" lineup actually did worse than when Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher were a part of it. Then again the Yankees had the unenviable task of facing reigning AL Cy Young/MVP Justin Verlander in the third game of the ALCS.

Though Verlander wasn't at his best, he was good enough to pick up the win in Detroit's 2-1 victory over the Yankees in Game 3. The Yankees made it exciting in the 9th when Eduardo Nunez homered off Verlander and Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano reached on 2-out hits against Phil Coke. But magic man Raul Ibanez had no magic this time around and struck out when he chased a 3-2 pitch out of the zone to end the game.

Delmon Young, who has excelled in the last two post-seasons against the Yankees, hit a solo home run off Phil Hughes in the 4th to snap the scoreless tie. After Hughes followed the gopher ball with a walk to Andy Dirks, the right-hander had to leave the game with a stiff back.

The Tigers doubled their lead thanks in part thanks to an Eric Chavez error that allowed Quentin Berry to reach safely to start the bottom of the 5th. Chavez got the start at the third base in place of the benched Rodriguez. Berry stole second base and scored easily on Miguel Cabrera's double off of David Phelps.

The Yankees pitching, as it has all post-season, did very well in Game 3. But with a punch-less lineup as soon as the opponent scores one run, the night was pretty much over. Slumps continued - Robinson Cano 1-30 (thought that is an improvement), Curtis Granderson 3-29, Eric Chavez 0-14.  The only hits the Yankees had on the night were a pair of singles by Ichiro Suzuki, who is one of the few batters left with some hits in him.

Verlander wasn't his sharpest, but was still better than most pitchers on their best nights. He allowed just three hits in 8.1 innings, hit 99 mph on the radar gun, and allowed just his second earned run in 24.1 post-season innings.

The Yankees will send CC Sabathia out Wednesday in hopes of putting off the end of the season one more day. The Tigers will go with right-hander Max Scherzer and Joe Girardi will try and figure out some lineup that might make some magic.  Otherwise, the Yankees will be hitting the golf courses sooner than they had hoped.

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