Game 2012 Playoffs.7: Tigers at Yankees

ALCS, Tigers 1, Yankees 0.

Well, that was certainly exhausting, and it seems so soon to pick it up and do it all over again.  And I’m just speaking of the fans; imagine how draining that was for the participants.

Well, the big topic of last night’s game among many, is the potato in the room, which can no longer be ignored. Despite all of the “who could have predicted this” commentary last night on the TV broadcast, those of us who have been following the Tigers could have, and did predict that Valverde in the 9th was trouble.

In the past, Leyland has always supported his closer, closed ranks, and said, hey this is our guy.  When an exhausted and bleary-eyed Leyland said in the post-game interview that he needs to talk to his staff before he would comment on the closer situation, you knew this time was different.

Apparently the Tigers are going to go with a bullpen by committee approach for now. Although he still refers to Valverde as his closer. Although he won’t be closing today. In other words, we’ll have to watch and see. Valverde isn’t going away just yet (“Jose Valverde is sitll a huge part of this team”), but it is unclear what his role will be from here on out.

The Valverde implosion was so dramatic that is easy to forget that once again Joaquin Benoit was hit and hit hard (Austin Jackson with the save!), and it would not be hard to imagine Leyland going to Benoit in the 9th inning, so don’t put away the antacids just yet (although I am predicting Alburquerque for today).

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And don’t let the 9th inning meltdown distract from what was one more brilliant starting performance by Detroit, and a good showing by most of the bullpen. In fact Tiger pitching held the Yankees scoreless for 11 total innings yesterday.  Doug Fister fought through a string of bases-loaded situations, fought off a line on his pitching wrist, and came up with just enough strikeouts to blank the Yankees over 6 1/3 hard-fought, gutsy innings. (In fact when Fister escaped three bases-loaded jams he became the first to do that to the Yankees in their 375-game postseason history, in case you’re keeping track).

Benoit was scary, but Phil Coke may have had his best outing of the season, Octavio Dotel was solid after the Valverde meltdown (and may be the closer-in-waiting), and young Drew Smyly showed that he was up to the big stage, calmly putting down the Yankee lefties.  So all-in-all, the Tiger pitching, as predicted, has been the key to Tiger success in this series.

Today they hand the ball to Anibal, who has a short and inglorious history facing the Yankees: 7 runs over 7-plus innings in a 12-8 loss on Aug. 8.

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From the Yankee perspective of course, the Tiger bullpen implosion pales in comparison with losing Derek Jeter, whose season is finished after fracturing his ankle fielding a Peralta gounder. Jeter will be replaced by Jayson Nix, who hit .243 with 4 HRs and a .690 OPS.  What may be irreplacable is Jeter’s leadership, and expect even more attention to focus on Alex Rodriguez in the wake of Jeter’s loss.

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Stat of the Day: The Tigers are 1-0 this postseason when billfer comments on DTW.

Today’s Player of the Pre-game:  Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera has faced Yankee starter Hiroki Kuroda 9 times, with 2 HRs and an OPS of 1.667.

Today’s Stealing-Home-Field-Advantage Lineup:

  1. Austin Jackson CF
  2. Quintin Berry LF
  3. Miguel Cabrera 3B
  4. Prince Fielder 1B
  5. Delmon Young DH
  6. Andy Dirks LF
  7. Jhonny Peralta SS
  8. Alex Avila C
  9. Omar Infante 2B

60 thoughts on “Game 2012 Playoffs.7: Tigers at Yankees”

  1. That is the second first inning play that have kept the Yankees in check. Well done Peralta and Sanchez!

  2. It’s crazy that the Yankees can’t fill their stadium for the ALCS – looks like there are a lot of empty seats today, too.

  3. Nice inning by Sanchez. I hope the Tiger hitters start to figure out Kuroda the 2nd time though.

      1. The other side of the coin of great Tigers starting pitching has been how the Tigers have hit opposition starters so far. Not too good, as far as I can tell.

  4. Wow. Kuroda perfect through five. Who’da thunk?

    Perfect game. Perfect game. Perfect game. (Jinx effect.)

  5. The Yankees lineup used to paralyze me with fear. Even with Jeter it’s not that frightening. How did they win so many games this year? Experience?

    1. It still paralyzes me. It’s the big name effect, I think.

      Still hanging in there by the grace of Sanchez. Get a hit, someone.

  6. Sigh of relief. Way to recover from your own goof, Anibal. Nothing wrong with his pitching. Is he good for 8, so they can bring in… um…

  7. How about Peralta on the post season….for all the crap, me especially, we throw his way he has been solid…O and especially on D

        1. his price tag has gone up considerably over the past month, but he’s a great fit for this staff/team

  8. Great job Sanchez!!! Nix takes four strikes. Your Parents are in the Stadium and must be very proud of your performance. We are!

  9. Fantastic outing by Anibal. Guessing we’ll see someone from the pen next inning? Top of the order/lefty coming up and 4th time through the order. The question is who? Coke?

  10. Raise your hand if you thought this weekend would go down like this??…..I didn’t think so…..me either…….

  11. PHIL COKE!!! Great job. Better than your Game 5 1 1/3 inning performance that took us back to Texas.

  12. Wow. Incredible pitching from all but our back end on a huge stage. Never thought we’d be coming home up 2…

  13. I guess Coke has been saving his good pitches all season for the playoffs v his old team.

    Closer by committee looks OK to me.

    Mr.Valverde will be the important player who keeps the bullpen seats warm for the relief pitchers on the staff.

  14. Apparently Coke and Peralta have been saving their best for the playoffs.

    Oustanding win/pitching today, i suspect NYY may move up Sabathia’s start to Tues… Current forecast looks like no rain in DET for Tues & Wed…50s and 60s temps. Since its a 2-3-2 series, DET needs to win 2 of the 3 games in DET… do not press the luck returning to NY

  15. I think of going on to win Game 1 in 12 as a greater positive than the blown save was a negative. If the Tigers make it to the WS as they should, Valverde has a clean slate again. Easier to see if you imagine being his teammate or his manager.

    Of greater concern is the Tigers’ hitting. Lots of luck in run-scoring going on all post-season. They struck out 13 times today. Kuroda was more dominant than Sanchez. Level of confidence from the past 7 games: When Cabrera is up with 2 men on or better, I dare hope for no more than a single. When Fielder or Young are up in the same situation, I expect them to fall behind in the count quickly and then strike out.

    Verlander is at the top of his game, but this isn’t the A’s, and I certainly hope the Tigers will lighten the weight on his shoulders by scoring early for a change. The slumping Yankees need to be kicked when they’re down, or else they’re going to get back up again. I think it’ll be up to the Tiger hitters to deliver that kick, hopefully as early as Game 3.

    1. We need more blown saves then for the big bump it gives to the team. And it looks like we will be getting a shot at them soon as Leyland quickly cycles back to his addictive dependence on his programmed bullpen strategy. Notice how he uses “we have to get him going” in two consecutive sentences:

      http://www.detroitnews.com/art.....e-Valverde

      It’s time to pick up the needle and move it to another groove.

      1. Here is my plan: Verlander pitches a complete game victory tomorrow. Then on Wednesday, Leyland tries to get Valverde going, and he blows the game. Then on Thursday, Leyland gives him another day off before he tries to get him going again, and we close out the series.

        1. Not bad. I like the plan, but I propose a twist. Make Valverde the opener instead of closer. He’ll pitch the 1st, give up 4 charity runs. Given the incentive of being down 4, the Tigers go crazy at the plate as Verlander cruises through the final 8. The Yankees, spirits broken, oversleep on Wednesday and forfeit Game 4.

  16. Unless you have amnesia, DET fans should be far from ‘very confident’ in this series… ‘cautiously optimistic’, at best should be the mindset. This DET team has never opted for the easy path this year.

    So far in the playoffs, DET has been mediocre at the plate and their ‘hits’ are finding holes, whereas NYY’s are finding gloves (typically Peralta’s)… as you know, this phenomenon can reverse quickly.

  17. Incredible stat from this year’s playoffs, thus far:

    DET Starters: in 47 2/3 innings have given up a total of 5 ER
    Valverde: in 2 1/3 innings, the Spud has given up 7 ER
    Benoit: in 3 1/3 innings, 2 ER
    All other DET relievers: 11.1 innings pitched 0 ER given up.

    To be clear, all DET pitchers with the exception of Valverde & Benoit have given up a total of 5 ER over 59 innings – while Valverde & Benoit have given up 9 ER over 5 2/3 IN. Draw your own conclusions.

    1. Incredible pitching. I like what Verlander said about good pitching being contagious.

      The real eye-opener for me in those stats was the “All other DET relievers” part. Wow. OK, put me down for “closer by committee.”

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