Scherzer Silences Doubters
By Chris Hannum
Including myself, if I’m being honest. Max Scherzer has been good but inconsistent all season long, and when he’s been off it has tended to take the form of souvenirs for fans in the outfield. None of that today. The Yankees did manage to work counts and get walks, but they had a difficult time making good contact against Scherzer all game long.
I doubt anyone would have been overly surprised at hearing that Scherzer would hand the ball off to Benoit and Valverde for a 5-3 Tigers win. John Verburg this morning predicted a 5-4 win, just for an example. But I don’t think anyone you would have found any takers for no ER for Scherzer but 3 from the Tigers two top relievers. Scherzer was good enough when he needed to be good that the game seemed nearly in the bag as early as the second inning. That the game ultimately turned into a real nailbiter (which I’m sure sent my blood pressure to unsafe levels) was solely due to a poor outing from Jose Valverde. How much blame we should assign to the Big Potato for letting the Yankees sniff victory I’m unsure. The rain definitely cost him an easy pop out to end the game and likely made it difficult to get a good feel for the ball.
Jim Leyland looked like half a genius today – subbing in Don Kelly for Magglio Ordonez just in time, who scored from second when Maggs likely couldn’t have and saved a key extra base hit and perhaps the whole game with his glove. Of course, he also started Delmon Young over Andy Dirks against a righty with massive L-R splits and forced us to watch at least one ball drop that Dirks (or 80% of other outfielders) would have caught. He also brought in Benoit early and shut down the Yankees first attempt at a rally in the 7th but then handed the ball to Valverde in a non-save situation and we all know how those have gone for him this year.
The series comes to Detroit tomorrow night, knotted up 1-1, which quite frankly is the best we had really hoped for. We get our marquee matchup back as Sabathia and Verlander duel in a must win game 3… but then isn’t every division series game a must win?