Unfortunately everything went right back to pot after that. The Yankees’ offense couldn’t do any damage to any pitcher other than Valverde, and Rafael Soriano and David Robertson both pitched just one inning a piece. David Phelps came on in the ninth and, “aided” by a horrendous play on which Nick Swisher just failed to catch a liner in right field, would give up two runs to push the Tigers back to the 6-4 lead they would finally nail down in the bottom of the inning. Oh, and Derek Jeter got hurt.
Some brief notes from the game:
- Andy Pettitte kept the Yankees’ sreak of good postseason pitching going, giving up just two runs over 6.2 innings. He only really struggled int he sixth inning, and a fluky triple by Austin Jackson in which the ball got stuck in the nook where the ball boy sits down the right field line to lead off the frame certainly didn’t help. The Yankees did keep Jackson from scoring on fly ball by Omar Infante and intentionally walked Miguel Cabrera to set up the double play, but Prince Fielder laced a single back up the middle, and then Delmon Young dropped in an RBI single on Swisher’s first defensive blunder of the game. Swish kind of got stuck on an in between hop and didn’t dive for the ball, even though Cabrera had taken off from first base with total disregard for being doubled up. At that point there’s no reason not to dive, really, as Miggy was scoring anyway on a single. Really bad night in the field for Swish.
- After a great performance in the ALDS, 2011 Joe Girardi made an appearance tonight. Not only did he stick Alex Rodriguez right back in the starting lineup despite having a right-handed starter on the mound, but he went to Derek Lowe to relieve Pettitte in the seventh inning, and left him in long enough to give up a home run to Delmon Young. Boone Logan was then allowed to face a right-handed batter with a runner on and two outs, and he gave up an RBI single to push the lead out to 4-0. With the struggles the Tigers’ bullpen has had and the fact that Jim Leyland keeps going to Valverde anyway, you have to keep the game as close as you can in that situation, but Girardi went back to playing the win expectancy at the wrong time.
- The Yankees really have a tale of two offense thing going on right now. Jeter, Ichiro, Teixeira, Ibanez, and Martin are all doing pretty darn well at the plate, while Swisher continues to scuffle and Cano, A-Rod, and Granderson are just terrible. Those last three combined to leave 16 runners on base tonight, and A-Rod was pinch hit for! Although, to be fair, Cano should have gotten an RBI when he beat out an infield single that ricocheted off of Doug Fister in the second inning, but was called out at first base on a blown call. Doesn’t excuse the rest of his postseason though.
- The Yankees are in an 0-1 hole, obviously, and are certainly benefited by the quick turnaround, as it doesn’t feel like they could win another game right now. It’s really hard to believe they won the ALDS with all of this poor hitting, and now Jeter is hurt on top of things. I guess the silver lining is that things could turn around very quickly if Cano could come up with a few big hits, but that’s easier said than done.