Um… safe?

A fantastic pitchers’ duel between Hiroki Kuroda and Anibal Sanchez was broken open as much as such a game possibly could be in a controversial eighth inning, when a blown call at second base on an Austin Jackson single allowed Omar Infante to remain in scoring position. In place of Quentin Berry, the Tigers called up pinch-hitter, and Miguel Cabrera doppelganger, Avisail Garcia, who doubled Infante home and Jackson to third, giving Detroit a crucial insurance run.

Cabrera followed by singling home Jackson, but not before Yankee manager Joe Girardi came out of the dugout to replace the excellent Kuroda with Joba Chamberlain, going a little too ape goof for second base umpire Jeff Nelson’s liking, and getting himself ejected in the process.

From the replay, you can kinda see why he was upset, I guess…

Um… yikes.



And what Jaffe says is kinda the rub, because as impressive a day as Kuroda had– all the more impressive, as it came on short rest for the first time in his life, as we were reminded constantly on the broadcast– he was matched all the way by Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez, who toyed with a struggling Yankee lineup. Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano, and Curtis Granderson each have an on-base of .200 or lower for the playoffs so far. Granderson helped his cause today, with a walk in the seventh, and A-Rod did with a too-little too-late single with two outs in the ninth.

But full credit to Sanchez, who finished his day having thrown seven innings, giving up three hits, three walks, no runs, while striking out seven, with twelve outs coming via ground balls. He was as terrific as he needed to be– and with Justin Verlander slated to pitch Game Three for Detroit, things are looking great for the club, as I reminded us in today’s preview, with the seventh-best record in the American League.

The Win Expectancy Graph

Source: FanGraphs

The Most Important Play of the Game

See above. I mean, as hard as it is to call an insurance run the biggest play of the game– especially in a contest during which the losing team barely even threatened to score– but that’s kind of entirely the thing: the way it was going, if the Yankees were going to have anything resembling a chance, they needed to keep the Tigers off the board as close to entirely as possible.

The Shamsky Award

Named after Raymond’s dog on Everybody Loves Raymond Art Shamsky, who single handedly increased the Cincinnati Reds’ chances of winning by 150.3% in a losing effort during a game in 1966, The Shamsky Award is given to the player on the losing team who contributes the most to them winning.

Kuroda did everything you could have possibly expected from him to keep this series from slipping further away, but it just wasn’t enough. His 0.23 WPA was the best among the Yankees by far, and one of only three to be in positive territory– the others being the marginally positive Curtis Granderson (0.01) and Cody Eppely (0.03).

Awesomest Graphic of the Game

I’d be remiss if I made it through the recap of a Tigers game this year without revelling in this ridiculously-awesome, crazy-eyed piece of art that was the club’s primary logo from 1961 to 1993, according to Or it’s resemblence to the many cat paintings of Louis Wain, whose gradual, deepening schizophrenia– some say– was reflected in his art.

I mean… I guess maybe I can see what they mean by that.

Three Stars

1. Anibal Sanchez: After allowing five or more earned runs in three of his first four starts for the Tigers, Sanchez has settled down nicely, doing so only once in his ten tries since, including today’s three-hit, seven-strikeout gem.

2. Hiroki Kuroda: Fantastic in his own right, giving up three earned on five hits and no walks through seven-and-two-thirds, striking out a career high 11, inducing 10 ground ball outs to just one flyout.

3. Jeff Nelson: Perhaps the second base umpire wanted to be a star of the show. He sure got it, atrociously blowing a call at second base that allowed the Tigers to score a pair of insurance runs in the top of the eighth.