“For the love of God, win the damn game!” – Stacey Gotsulias 10/16/12
Verlander vs. the offense:
Believe it or not, the Yankees have actually had some success against Verlander in his career, which isn’t terribly important, but they’ve also done pretty well against him this season as well. They’ve got 25 hits in 20.1 innings off of him, and they’ve won two of the three games he’s started against them in 2012. In those victories they racked up 16 hits and 10 runs, 7 earned, in 12.1 innings, with four home runs (remember kids, good pitchers never give up the long ball!), and striking out just eight times compared to four walks, all of which came on June 3rd. On the other hand, the last time Verlander faced the Yankees he was downright dominant, holding the Yankees to nine hits, a walk, and two unearned runs while matching a career high with 14 strikeouts in eight innings of work.
It’s tempting to try to find a dozen ways to break down a match up like this, but when you boil it down it’s really pretty simple: the outcome will be decided by how in command of his unbelievable stuff Verlander is, and how able the Yankees’ offense is to square the ball up if he makes a mistake.…
That all might be changing though, if the words of general manager Brian Cashman are any indication. Making an appearance on The Michael Kay Show yesterday, Cashman was asked about possibly starting Gardner as the series moves to Detroit, and he responded by saying, “You could very well see Gardner in this big outfield that Detroit has. The way our offense is, it is a possibility. He deserves consideration considering what is going on right now.”
I’ve more or less understood where the Yankees’ reluctance to press Gardner into service is coming from, and so far it hasn’t really bothered me, but I think those days have come to an end. For one thing, the defensive upgrade could be a big factor in spacious Comerica Park, especially with Phil Hughes pitching tonight. Hughes is a fly ball pitcher, and with all of that ground to cover and Justin Verlander to match, he could use all the help he could get. Secondly, even if Gardner hadn’t taken a hack in two years, he couldn’t really be a worse option than Swisher or Granderson right now, who are not only black holes on offense, but have basically become near automatic strikeouts to boot.…
They’re not this bad:
First and foremost, the unit that’s giving them the most problems right now is right playing in a way that is reflective of their true talent level. The Yankees have struggled to score runs in every postseason game they’ve played so far, but they did have the league’s best offense during the season, and there’s plenty of room for realistic improvement in the near future. Most of all there’s Robinson Cano, who’s one of the very best hitters in baseball but mired in an 0-26 streak at the plate. He could catch fire at any time, and we all know how dangerous the Yankees can be when that happens. Curtis Granderson, Alex Rodriguez, and Nick Swisher may be lost causes, and losing Derek Jeter hurts a lot, but there’s still thunder in the Yankees’ lineup, and it seems highly unlikely that they could be this impotent for two whole playoff series.
Pitching, pitching, pitching:
Remember when great starting pitching won you championships?…