You wouldn’t know it from the Twitter world out there earlier tonight, but the Tigers are going on to the American League Championship Series after defeating the Yankees 3-2 Thursday. While people were just waiting for the inevitable comeback victory by the Yankees, the Tigers were busy leading the entire game, making big pitches whenever they had to, and getting the clutch hits the Yankees couldn’t.
The game started off with a bang for the Tigers when Don Kelly and Delmon Young hit back-to-back home runs in the top of the first inning for a 2-0 lead on the Yankees. From that point on, Yankees manager was grasping at straws, playing musical pitching mounds with his pitching staff.
Doug Fister didn’t have his usual excellent command tonight, but his movement was outstanding. Besides the home run to Robinson Cano, Fister kept the Yankees from squaring up the baseball all night. He did have to work out of some jams, as the Yankees did squander more than one opportunity. The Tigers did as well.
Still leading 2-0 in the top of the 5th inning, the Yankees with a runner on 2nd and 2 outs, decided to walk Tigers cleanup hitter Miguel Cabrera. Victor Martinez did what he has been all year and delivered a big single to drive in a run for the 3-0 lead. That would prove to be the difference as the Yankees couldn’t tack on more than one run in the bottom of the 7th, when they had loaded the bases with just one out.
The Tigers didn’t especially pitch well or hit well in the series, but they did hit some key home runs, and got the big hit when they needed to. One weakness for them; defense, was solid after the first game of the series as they didn’t record an error for the entire series.
Going into Texas, the Tigers should feel confident for several reasons. First, the Tigers have had good success against the Rangers this year. They are 6-3 against the Rangers with a run differential of 45-37 against them in 2011. Second, the Rangers boast three left-handed starters, and the Tigers have had good success against lefties this season. And last, while C.J. Wilson is a heck of a pitcher, Jim Leyland’s decision to hold back Justin Verlander tonight means he should be able to pitch twice if needed in the Texas series.
The Tigers have bested the Yankees once again, you’re next Texas.