One of the higher-ups at my company is from Detroit and so naturally is a Tigers fan. We talked about this series on Monday afternoon and I half-jokingly told him that if the betting line was 10 total runs for the Yankees in the 4 games, I'd take the under. They didn't beat that by much, managing 11 in the 4-game set, but that 11 was enough to take 3 of 4 from the AL Central leaders thanks to outstanding starting pitching and that helped hold the Tiger offense to 6 runs in 39 innings. Shane Greene got the start in this afternoon's series finale and turned in one of the best starts of the year by a pitcher not named Tanaka.
Greene's sinker/slider combo was as sharp as it's been all season and he made a Miggy-less lineup look helpless in his 8(!!) shutout(!!!!) innings. He was rarely in trouble, and when he was he worked out of it with well-executed pitches and well-timed double play balls. A single and a walk with 2 outs in the 4th was stranded with a strikeout of Don Kelly. A pair of 1-out singles in the 6th was erased by a Victor Martinez GIDP. All together the Tigers had 5 hits off Greene and none went for extra bases. He was a beast.
Detroit starter Rick Porcello was almost as good, holding the Yankees to 1 run in his 7 innings. That run came courtesy of a nice 2-out rally in the bottom of the 4th. Carlos Beltran singled to center, Chase Headley singled to left, and Stephen Drew hit a well-placed ground-rule double down the left field line to score Beltran. The Yankees bailed Porcello out a few times. They stranded 2 in the 3rd, wasted 2 leadoff singles in the 6th, and couldn't capitalize on a bases loaded situation with 2 outs in the 7th, but that 1 was all they would need.
Greene exited after giving up a leadoff single to Ian Kinsler in the 9th, and D-Rob made everyone's hearts jump by walking the next batter. But he got a pinch-hitting Cabrera to bang into another double play to kill that threat and put a bow on things by coaxing a flyout from Kelly.
- Little surprising to see Joe let Greene come out to start the 9th at 98 pitches. That's not usually his MO with young pitchers. Shows how much faith he already has in Greene.
- Ichiro Suzuki got the start in right and was the only Yankee hitter with multiple hits, going 2-3 on the day.
- The only Yankee without a hit was Francisco Cervelli, who got his usual start with Greene.
- In addition to Teix (injury) and Big Mac (day off), Joe also elected to rest Derek Jeter today, which put Drew at shortstop and Brendan Ryan at second. Fair to say that's the best defensive pairing up the middle that the Yankees have had in a loooooong time.