Yes the Yankees lineup is formidable, but if you look at the final box score you see a Tiger team that nearly matched them hit for hit. The Yankees posted 14 hits, 5 for extra bases including 2 homers. The Tigers banged out 12 hits, 7 for extra bases including 2 homers. The difference tonight was execution.
The Tigers couldn’t execute a hit and run and shot themselves in the foot. While the hit and run was questionable with Ordonez as the lead runner, given Wang’s extreme ground ball tendencies it wasn’t an awful call. The problem was the swing and miss.
Nate Robertson couldn’t field 2 different comebackers (Brandon Inge picked him up on the 2nd) and the first one led to the big inning.
The Tigers had their chances but weren’t able to capitalize often enough.
I’m not saying this loss was bad luck or anything of the sort. The Tigers were beat. But they weren’t outslugged. They weren’t scared. They weren’t playing like a team that was just swept by the Royals. I’m encouraged. The Tigers deserve to be here and they played like it.
The Yankees won it because they put together quick scoring blitzes the Tigers can’t match, which is what happened when they popped Nate Robertson for five runs and six consecutive hits in the third. The Tigers have too many soft spots in their batting order to blow up a game the way New York can. One inning, six batters, and the Yankees put away a ballgame.
“Now, we’re experienced,” pitcher Nate Robertson proclaimed with a smile Tuesday night.
That’s fine, but one game into their first playoff series in 19 years, the Detroit Tigers are also one game down. They weren’t embarrassed in Tuesday night’s 8-4 loss to the New York Yankees, but could they really come away encouraged after a game where the Yankee lineup looked every bit as good as advertised?
Lastly, the Tigers did not look scared or tense tonight. They sure did not look like a team that just choked up a division. I expect them to show up tomorrow and play tough. The Yankees should expect that as well.
This game showed me a few things. One, Detroit’s not intimidated by the Yankees and this series will not be easy. Two, the Yankee bullpen is a scary thing. Three, the Yankee offense can explode at any time. Four, Gary Sheffield made a really nice stretch on a low throw in the early innings. He doesn’t look smooth at first, but he’s looking more and more capable.
I’m trying to stay optimistic but the Yankees line-up is amazing. It’s literally an all-star line-up from top to bottom, perhaps the best line-up in the history of the game when all are healthy. They are an incredibly well disciplined team. It seems like they never swing at a bad pitch and when you give them something to hit they hit a line drive. It’s quite a contrast to the free swinging Tigers.
Much has been made of the Tigers’ inexperience on the big stage. But as Leyland often says, he’ll take talent over experience. And in this series, maybe that debate is moot. The Yankees have more of both.
At least they showed they weren’t awed by Yankee Stadium and all its aura this time of year. But, in the end, they were unable to contain that lineup. Once again, we saw hints of a Yankee pitching staff that is beatable, and it would appear if they are to fulfill The Boss’ mandate of nothing short of a world championship, the Bombers are going to have to bludgeon their way to it.