For the fourth straight ALCS playoff game, the New York Yankees’ bats fell dormant, falling to Detroit 8-1. For the second time in six years, the Tigers are going to World Series.
In fact, the last time the Tigers made it there, they knocked off both the Yankees and the Oakland Athletics. They just might face the St. Louis Cardinals again too. For the Yankees, the game was a fitting end to their offensive nightmare of a postseason, and now an unpredictable offseason looms.
A usually reliable CC Sabathia struggled from the start, hit with an extra day of rest that may have prompted 3 2/3 innings of six run, 11 hit, two homerun ball. Max Scherzer, who didn’t allow a hit until the sixth inning and gaveup just a lone run, stymied the Yankee bats. The Detroit bullpen did the rest, putting up goose eggs the remainder of the way, like Tiger pitching had done in 36 of the 39 innings during the four games of the series.
Sabathia was 7-1 in the postseason for the Yankees entering Thursday. He was “vintage CC” as Joe Girardi professed after his Game 5 ALDS complete game shutout against the Orioles. In this 93 pitch outing, he was noticeably different. Though, it may not have mattered if he cut down on even half of what he surrendered.
The only Yankee tally was pushed across on a double by Nick Swisher, who hit second in the lineup after Ichiro. Alex Rodriguez was benched again to start the game, then entered in the sixth and flew out to center with two runners aboard.
Eric Chavez, his replacement again, fumbled a ball in the first inning allowing Omar Infante aboard that would then lead to the first run of the game thanks to an RBI single from Delmon Young. In this series, one run against the Yankees must have felt like ten.
Four homeruns led the charge for the Tigers, including two from Jhonny Peralta. Austin Jackson launched one in the seventh off reliever Derek Lowe to aid the Tiger lead. The Triple Crown winner had his share too, a two-run bomb dropped in the fourth inning, Miguel Cabrera’s first of the postseason.
It may be easy to point to a few key instances to judge why the team slowed down but it couldn’t explain an historical collective slump. Derek Jeter’s ankle didn’t help things, and Raul Ibañez’s late inning heroics now seem like false hope. A-Rod-Miami trade rumors probably didn’t relax anyone at the plate.
Once again, the quest for a 28th championship ring must be prolonged. This may be a defining offseason for GM Brian Cashman and the Yankees, who must make a decision on Nick Swisher, Curtis Granderson, and that nagging A-Rod contract. No doubt, the winter will bring changes for a team who became offensively inept in the time it mattered most.