The MLB postseason action continues to heat up and today’s games see the Cardinals and Giants duke it out for the series lead, while the Yankees will just try to stay alive down 3-0 to the Tigers. The Yankees haven’t been swept in a playoff series since 1980 and with their ace on the hill, they have a better chance to avoid that fate today.
Even before losing their captain Derek Jeter for the rest of the postseason with a fractured ankle, the Yankees bats had been quiet. The offense has been so non-existent that manager Joe Girardi has been forced to make extreme moves that he never thought he would have had to make, such as benching some of his star players like Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher. New York is currently hitting .158 on the series, which if not improved upon by the end of the ALCS, would go down as the record for lowest team average in a playoff series.
On the other side of the coin, the Detroit Tigers pitching staff has been lights out this postseason and has stepped up their game even more in the current series with New York. Tiger pitching has allowed just five runs in 30 innings of work in the three wins so far. Last night Justin Verlander pitched eight and one-third strong innings of work, which followed another marvelous outing from Anibal Sanchez, who shutout the Yankees in seven innings in game two.
For the second time this postseason, the Yankees are facing elimination, but this time they have a much higher mountain to climb down 3-0 and being on the road today. New York will send out C.C. Sabathia to the mound, who should be its best bet to avoid the sweep. Sabathia has been New York’s go-to man, not just in the playoffs, but all season long. His last outing was that deciding series game-five against the Orioles, in which he pitched a complete game gem, allowing just one earned run. With the offense struggling as much as it is, New York will need him to be near-perfect again.
Detroit will give the ball to Max Scherzer, who pitched five and one-third innings of shutout ball against the Oakland A’s in game four of the ALDS. The Tigers bullpen ended up losing that game, but expect Detroit to stick with Scherzer deep into today’s contest as long as his pitch count is low and as long as he continues Detroit’s domination of Yankee hitters.
I don’t necessarily see the Yankees completely breaking out of their offensive slump, but with Sabathia on the mound and the fact that Detroit’s offense hasn’t been spectacular either, I like the Yankees to stay alive today and win game four. But don’t expect any miracle comeback in the series. Look for Detroit to win in five or maybe six games and advance to the World Series.