Verlander wins as Yankees fall to 0-3 in the ALCS

The Yankees needed Phil Hughes to come up big, they needed Robinson Cano to start hitting again. They didn’t get either as they lost to Justin Verlander and the Tigers 2-1 in Detroit on Tuesday night to drop to 0-3 in the ALCS.

Hughes was solid in the first three innings and then opened the fourth inning as he allowed a solo shot to Delmon Young and then walked Andy Dirks on four pitches before being lifted because of a stiff back. David Phelps came on in relief and got out of the fourth inning, but gave up a run in the fifth as the Yankees fell behind 2-0.

That was all the runs the Tigers would score, but that ended up being enough as Verlander was masterful. He went 8.1 innings and allowed just three hits and the only run came on an Eduardo Nunez solo shot to lead-off the ninth inning.

That inning was probably the best inning to score a run, but Brett Gardner grounded out, then Phil Coke got Ichiro Suzuki on a weak grounder, and after a Mark Teixeira walk and Robinson Cano 0-for-29 snapping single, Raul Ibanez struck out to end the game.

There was a lot of talk on Twitter that inning about pinch hitting with Alex Rodriguez that inning. All things considered, the perfect at bat for that was probably the final at bat of the game. Ibanez, who hit just .197 with a .492 OPS against lefties this year, was facing the lefty Coke. A-Rod, who hit .308 with a .924 OPS against lefties this year, was most certainly the better choice, but Joe Girardi stuck with Ibanez and it didn’t pay off.

That wasn’t the only thing that didn’t pay off for Girardi. He benched both A-Rod and Nick Swisher for this game, but Eric Chavez and Gardner, who took their places, went 0-for-7. Still, it’s hard to kill Girardi in my mind as A-Rod and Swisher were equally capable of going 0-for-7 (although A-Rod probably wouldn’t have made the error Chavez made). It’s also hard to argue pinch hitting Ibanez, who has been their best clutch performer, with A-Rod in the ninth.

Still, it all makes for frustrating baseball. The Yankees haven’t been killed in this series as they’ve lost three games by a combined score of six runs, but it’s really hard to watch Cano go 0-for-29 (now 1-for-30) and A-Rod, Swisher, and Granderson combine for 10 hits in eight games. Only one team in history has come back after being down 0-3 in the series and they didn’t have Verlander lurking in Game 7.

The Yankees are probably done. The facts are there. They haven’t hit and they don’t have an easy task ahead of them. If their offense does wake up though, even a little bit, they have CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda, and CC again coming up in rotation. That’s a tough foursome to beat. Realistically, there isn’t a lot of hope, but if any team can come back from down 0-3 this team might be it.

If the Yankees do mount what would be an amazing, if unrealistic, comeback, you are going to want to be there to see it (whether it’s in the Bronx or Detroit). If you are looking for tickets support Bronx Baseball Daily and get a good deal by buying your tickets here.

About Rob Abruzzese

Rob Abruzzese created Bronx Baseball Daily in 2008 just before graduating from Brooklyn College. He currently serves BBD as its editor and works as a reporter at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Follow Rob on Twitter @RobAbruzzese.

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10 Responses to Verlander wins as Yankees fall to 0-3 in the ALCS

  1. David K. says:

    There's no way I want A-Rod pinch hitting for Ibanez in the 9th. Tigers would have just made a pitching change to a righty. Who would you rather have, Ibanez against Coke or A-Rod against a hard throwing righty? We're not down 3-0 because we lost to Verlander; we're down because we lost two games in our home park that we had no business losing. On coming back from 3-0 down, we need to feed some of that greatest collapse in playoff history medicine to someone else for a change. So this would be a great time to grow a pair of balls and show some fire in the old bellies. The Tigers are not a great team, despite what our clueless lineup tends to show.

  2. Motown says:

    WAT a Tiger fan thrill to see u Bronx busts go poof into the night behind the mighty Tiger brooms!! What karma oh sweet baseball's OVER JHONNY!!

  3. Tanned Tom says:

    Those 2 calls involving Cano get made correctly, maybe Jeter doesn't get injured and we're looking at being up 2-1. Winning covers up a lot of defects.
    What I hope is that Cashman uses this loss as reason to make a major roster transformation (like he did after 2008).Here's my rebuilding recipe:
    1) re-sign Martin, he really is a good defensive catcher and I like the way he handles the staff.
    2) Move Jeter to 3B. At 38, with poor range to begin with, after an ankle injury he needs to make this move. Difference is that now he might be willing to see the light. Replace him with Nunez. I know, his defense sucks. Well let's see if that's really the case, or not. Nix as Utility INF.
    3) Trade A-Rod. I think there actually might be a chance that he waives his no-trade clause to escape spending his declining years in NY. Perfect swapping of assinine contracts? A-Rod to the Angles for Vernon Wells.

  4. Tanned Tom says:

    4) Move Gardner to CF, Granderson to LF.
    5) Re-sign Suzuki for RF. 2 years.
    6) Let Swisher leave as free agent. Enough with his October lack of production. I like the guy but…
    7) Dickerson as 4th OF. Wells as 5th OF.
    8) Let Kuroda leave as a FA. He wants to go back to Japan? Ok. rotation is Sabathia, Pettitte, and 3 out of Pineda, Hughes, Nova, Phelps.
    9) Soriano opts out? Fine. Make qualifying offer and either he returns to pitch 8th or we get a draft pick.
    10) Cut loose: Andruw Jones (sucks), Raul Ibanez (too old), Eric Chavez (too injury prone).

    The first step is always clearing out the dead wood. Save roughly 15 years off of total team age (31.5 to 31 average age), and tons of cash

    • David K. says:

      I would also get rid of Granderson. His long swing and strikeouts are a big part of the problem. If the team has an option left for him, sign him and then turn around and trade him for a third baseman or pitching. If we can dump Teixeira somewhere also, move Jeter to first. But that's probably not happening unfortunately.

      • Tanned Tom says:

        I'm unsure about Granderson, his 40 HRs are gonna be hard to replace. And the chance to move Teixeira ended after the Dodgers got Gonzalez. But I wouldn't mind losing those 2.

  5. motown says:

    Actually Tanned YOU might be the best individual to boot off the Yankee fan base to help this sordid shadow of a team..Go Tigers!

    • Tanned Tom says:

      Yes, you're right, fans have tremendous influence on the on the field performance of the players. It's so clear to me now, GMs and managers have got it all wrong. Why your knowledge and wit are breathtaking.
      How about this? The Tigers (good team, especially in a short series) might be winning in spite of your nit-witted rooting.

  6. Motown says:


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