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ALCS Game 2: On the Brink

October 15, 2012

The Yankee dugout was despondent in the waning moments of game 2 (Getty)

Last night the Yanks fell into an 0-2 ALCS hole after another lackluster performance at the plate.  The Yanks looked lifeless without their Captain and the Stadium was equally comatose.  Here are some thoughts on the game.

1.  Kiroda’s Brilliance

Once again Hiroki Kiroda deserved to win.  After taking a perfect game into the 6th and with 11 strikeouts over 7.2 innings, he lowered his 2012 postseason ERA to 2.81.  But, just like his start in game 3 of the ALDS, the run support was not there for him.  Were it not for a botched double play in the 7th and and an egregious miscall in the 8th, Kiroda would not have allowed a run.  For much of the year Kiroda was the stalwart of our rotation and he has been the pitcher we needed this October, but we wasted his start last night.

2.  Tiger Hitting

I hope our slumping sluggers can learn something from the brass of the Tiger lineup.  I have been so impressed with the approach of Miguel Cabrera and Delmon Young.  While Cano looks like he’s pressing for that redemptive home run, mired in a 26 at bat hitless streak in the playoffs, Cabrera and Young will do whatever they have to do to get on base.  In the 12th inning of game 1, instead of trying to pull his second home run of the game, Young went with the pitch from David Phelps and lined a crushing double to right field.  Last night Cabrera got one pitch to hit during his at bat, reaching out and hitting a soft, opposite field liner to right to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead.  I can’t remember the last time Grandy, Cano, Swisher, or A-Rod fought off a few tough pitches before lining an opposite field single.  Over the last few weeks it has been all or nothing with them, and unfortunately it has been a whole lot of nothing.

3.  What Inexperience?

In the ALDS the Orioles’ inexperience staff gave the Yanks all they could handle.  Jason Hammel, in his 2nd and 3rd career postseason starts, limited the Yankees to just 8 hits and 4 earned runs over 11.1 innings.  We were fortunate to win both games thanks to great pitching from Sabathia.  In the only start of Wei-Yin Chen‘s career, he baffled the Bombers, allowing just 1 earned run in 6.1 innings.  Miguel Gonzalez, also in his first postseason start, held the Yanks to 1 earned run and just 5 hits, while striking out 8 over 7 innings.  Joe Saunders, in his 6th postseason start held the Yankees to 1 earned run in game 4.

The trend continued last night with Detroit’s Anibal Sanchez who, in his 2nd career October start, silenced Yankee Stadium as he dominated the vaunted New York lineup with 7 strikeouts, 3 hits and 0 runs over 7 innings.  I have never seen such inexperienced pitchers continually mystify our batters.

4.  Brutal Call

Second base umpire Jeff Nelson missed what turned out to be a crucial 8th inning call.  After Austin Jackson singled to right, Omar Infante thought about moving from 1st to 3rd, but a rocket from Nick Swisher made him change his mind.  Cano received the throw and applied the tag to Infante’s chest, but the umpire inexplicably missed it and called Infante safe.  The miscall opened the door to 2 runs that eventually sealed the Yankees’ fate in a 3-0 loss.

5.  Looking Ahead

It’s not over.  Yeah, we dropped our two games at home.  Yeah, we have to face Justin Verlander in game 3, but the Yanks faced plenty of obstacles this season and they have yet to find one they couldn’t overcome.  Don’t count them out yet.  If we can scratch out 2 out of the games at Comerica Park we get a chance to head back to the Bronx with a chance to win the series.  Those don’t even seem like long odds, but we’ve got to start hitting.  Soon.


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