I’ve finally had a chance to watch this game through the magic of ReplayTV. It was a great and thrilling win. The Tigers hit with decent power and make the most of their scoring chances.
As for Justin Verlander’s performance…I’ll just say that he survived the Yankees lineup. The 105 pitches in 6 1/3 innings and the 4 walks were probably enough to tell you that. His only “easy” inning began when Bobby Abreu just missed a home run on a line drive that was hit so hard it only resulted in a single. Fortunately it was a single because Gary Sheffield hit into a double play to follow it up. Verlander certainly had plenty of gumption on his fastball. He also threw a few tremendous curves and one that had Sheffield ducking on a pitch over the plate.
I heard Joel Zumaya’s performance described by Doug Karsch as “classic, vintage Zumaya” which I find hard to classify seeing as I don’t know if a rookie can do anything classic or vintage. That said he was awesome. And the guy he took the ball from, Jamie Walker, induced a double play and retired Johnny Damon to lead off the 7th. I doubt that Zumaya will be available to pitch 2 innings Friday night, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see Leyland use him for an inning.
CG2 – Curtis Granderson and Carlos Guillen are certainly making names for themselves in this series. Marcus Thames certainly doesn’t seemed phased by Mike Mussina and is now 6 for 7 against him.
In the end the Tigers did enough to win. They took advantage of their chances while the Yankees weren’t able to. Verlander wasn’t great, but good enough to get the game into the hands of the back of the Tigers bullpen. The Tigers have put themselves right into the thick of this series and will be coming into an electric Comerica Park for 2 games. The pitching appears to tilt the Tigers way in these next 2. Now they just have to take advantage of the situation. The Tigers beat the Yankees and it had nothing to do with not facing Mariano Rivera this time.
What others are saying
(keep checking back, I’ll add more in the morning)
Now you have a situation where it’s a best two-of-three and the Tigers have the homefield advantage. The game tomorrow night, for Randy Johnson, is “must win.” And, if the Yankees lose tomorrow, they have to think about bringing Wang back a day early to pitch Game Four.
The Tigers won a playoff game at Yankee Stadium today. It does not get any better than that. This game absolutely showed that they can play with the Yankees. It’s still going to be a really tough series but I feel more confident right now than I did after game 1. They now have the home field advantage. That doesn’t usually help this team much but I’d much rather see them play at home than at Yankee Stadium in post-season.
That win was incredible. Beating the Yankees in Yankee Stadium in October when you’re down 0-1 in the series was just so incredible a feeling. I’d actually say it’s better than winning the AL Central title would have been. This is what baseball is all about. That was the best feeling I’ve had as a baseball fan when Granderson caught the final out.
The big difference between the Tigers and Yankees today is the power. That’s the fifth extra-base hit for the Tigers to just two for New York. Detroit’s slugging percentage was much higher this year away from Comerica, and that’s coming through today.
Mussina choked too because he couldn’t minimize his mistakes. They are going to get hits, but he didn’t hold them down when they had their chances. He got two quick outs and then gave up back to back hits to allow Detroit to grab the early lead. I thought he would have carved up the Tigers today, but they converted three scoring opportunities. Giving up the home run to Guillen was the big hit. It brought them even and made them believe after Damon’s three run blast gave the Yanks the early 3-1 lead.
When that turned out to be the case, the bizarre feeling of a souring season suddenly changed.The Tigers had lost the American League Central, a prize they felt was theirs, by losing the last five games of regular season. They had played well in Game 1, but had lost – and were behind 3-1 in the fourth inning of Game 2. A special year was ending badly – but now it might not be ending at all.
The Yanks should have scored more than three runs off Verlander, and Mussina should never allow four runs to an offense as undisciplined as the Tigers.
Detroit’s tactical missteps aside, this is now a series in the balance. The Tigers, by splitting the first two in Yankee Stadium, claimed home-field advantage, and the pitching match-ups in Games 3 and 4 also favor them. If they can lay off a few pitches going forward, then it’s entirely possible this one won’t come back to New York.
So coming into the House that Ruth Built and defeating a lineup that is power personified perhaps did a little more than even the best-of-five series. It might also given them some much-needed respect.
…and here’s some more…
Baseball Prospectus | Articles | Prospectus Today: Division Series, Day Three
The Verlander/Zumaya tandem is just ridiculous. Verlander struggled with his command and seemed to spend much of the game nibbling against the Yankee power bats. Every now and then, though, he�d pull it together and just own someone. He had Alex Rodriguez bent into a pretzel, following up two 98-plus fastballs with a curve for a called strike three. Twice. He didn�t look nearly as good when Rodriguez�s teammates were at the plate, but he did what Nate Robertson couldn�t do Tuesday: kept it close.
Verlander didn’t, nothing negative happened to the Tigers after that point. Rather, they headed home with nothing but positive feelings about themselves. They may not win this thing, but at least now, as Leyland most assuredly told them, they can celebrate the fact that those 95 wins were legit and so are they.
The Yankees are now in the same precarious spot as last year, tied at a game apiece in the Division Series and – on paper anyway – having a huge Game 3 starting pitching edge. But in Game 3 last year, the Angels’ Paul Byrd pitched poorly, yet Johnson was even worse. The Yankees lost, when victory very likely would have meant advancement rather than the first-round ouster they suffered.
And now, stunningly, the Tigers are in control of the series. Not just because they have home field advantage—though the Yankees have a better road record than the Tigers have a home record, and won three of four at Comerica earlier this season. No, the Tigers’ advantage is in that they don’t have to rely on Randy Johnson and Jaret Wright in the next two days. They don’t have to hope that an epidural injection will allow them to keep the game close, they don’t have to wonder who they’ll pitch in the sixth inning of Game 4 when their starter runs out of gas, no matter how well he pitches. They’re not running two aces out there, but in comparison to what the Yankees have, they might as well be. And the Yankees will have to find a way to win one of those two games to stay alive.