- Hiroki Kuroda was wonderful. Pitching on short rest for the first time in his MLB career, Kuroda gave the Yankees 7.2 innings and limited Detroit to five hits and three runs, two of which scored after he exited the game. He struck out 11 Tigers in that span without a single walk issued, and didn’t allow a single base runner until the sixth inning. Just an incredible effort from Hiroki today, and it’s more or less a crim against all that is holy that his offense let him down again.
- Cody Eppley got four outs while allowing just one hit and getting two strikeouts, including striking out Delmon Young to leave the bases loaded in the eighth inning.
- Alex Rodriguez got a hit (1-4 with two strikeouts), and the offense still didn’t score a single run.
- Robinson Cano went 0-4.
- Nick Swisher went a combined 1-6 with a walk and five strikeouts.
- Ichiro Suzuki and Russell Martin both went 0-4 as well, but they get passes today because they’ve actually been carrying their weight for the rest of the playoffs.
- The Yankees got the first two Tigers out to start the eighth inning, still trailing just 1-0, and then all hell broke loose. Omar Infante and Austin Jackson singled, but Infante strayed too far off of second base and was thrown out before he could get back. Well, unofficially anyway, because the umpire called him safe even though replay showed he was unequivocally out, and the prolonged inning would have a profound impact on the game. Joe Girardi opted to remove Kuroda for Boone Logan at that point, but Jim Leyland call on the right handed Avisail Garcia to face him, and Garcia sent an RBI single into right field. Girardi then called on Joba Chamberlain to face Miguel Cabrera, and he too allowed an RBI single to right. Clay Rapada walked Prince Fielder (with Girardi getting ejected for coming back to argue the call at second base mixed in here as well), to load the bases before Eppley mercifully ended things by striking out Young. The saddest part of all of this? The Yankees’ hitters made it all moot by getting blanked anyway.
The bottom line:
- You couldn’t construct a much worse position for the Yankees to be in after the series’ first two games. Not only did the lose two games at home, where they had a better record than anyone in the A.L. during the regular season, but they dropped those two games against Detroit’s 3/4 starters, and are now in a position where they’ll have to win at least one game in which Verlander starts, plus beat Sanchez/Doug Fister/Max Scherzer in some combination to boot. Given that the offense was shutout in 20 of the 21 innings in which the two teams played this weekend, that seems like a tall order to say the least. Not impossible by any means, but but it’s going to be an uphill climb to be sure, and as was demonstrated today, they can’t expect even truly fantastic performances by their own starting pitchers to bail them out.