Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Season on the Brink

The Yankees had to face none other than Justin Verlander tonight after getting shut out by Anabal Sanchez and Phil Coke in game two of the ALCS. Verlander came as advertised. He was flat out nasty tonight and the Yankee hitters did not stand a chance despite constantly working the counts in their favor. Verlander nibbled for much of the game, leaving the hitters assuming that the at-bat would end on a positive note. The at-bat ended, but not the way they wanted it to. Ichiro got the only two hits that Verlander allowed through eight innings. In the ninth, Eduardo Nunez, who was starting at shortstop at Alex Rodriguez's expense took Verlander deep after fighting off nasty fastballs and off-speed pitches. Leyland allowed Verlander to face Gardner, who went 0-4 in his first start since April 17. Gardner, despite making an out drove up Verlander's pitch count to the point of where Jim Leyland was forced to go to the bullpen for the final two outs. The Yankees did not go down quietly, but ultimately Raul Ibanez struck out against Phil Coke on a nasty 3-2 slider with the tying run in scoring position.

From a starting pitching perspective, this was a game where you knew that it would only take one run to give Verlander a win. Phil Hughes started the game nicely before allowing a solo home run to Yankee killer, Delmon Young. Ultimately, in the same inning Hughes was taken out with what the team says is back stiffness. Fake injury or not, it was probably the best thing to do with Hughes who is a three-run homer waiting to happen. The bullpen was solid, giving up only one run the rest of the way. However, that run would cost them the game.

The Yankees find themselves in a deep hole going into tomorrow. They are down 0-3 and a loss tomorrow night would end their season with a sweep at the hands of the Detroit Tigers. One positive in a world of negatives for the Yankees is that CC Sabathia will be starting. If you are going to go down, you want it to be with your ace on the mound. Sabathia has been stellar in September and his two starts against Baltimore in the ALDS, so a win tomorrow night would give the Yankees a glimmer of hope in what was a otherwise weak series where the Yankees could not get a hit to save their season.

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