Game is called. Come back tomorrow, when the POP is a mere 90%.
Based on forecast for inclement weather, #ALCS Game 4 has been postponed to preserve integrity of an uninterrupted full 9 inning game.
— MLB Public Relations (@MLB_PR) October 18, 2012
If you, otherwise affiliated baseball fan, are enjoying the recent implosion of the New York Yankees, you are not alone. Very few teams in any sport provoke quite the same level of antipathy as the Bronx Bombers. In many ways, they are the model franchise. Fielding a consistent winner, building a success business atop their legendary status and providing their fans with playoff baseball nearly every year.
As such, nothing involving the Yankees is done half measure. This Yankees blow-up is a big as it gets. The famed offense, sculpted for their famous home yard, is in complete disarray. The expensive sluggers usually bulging from every spot in the lineup are notable for their absence. Instead of the top-tiered talent pillaged from the weak sisters around the league, theirs is a lineup of retreads and role players. Injuries ravaged this star-studded bunch, causing the much-maligned manager to chose from scraps rather than the choice cuts to which he’s grown accustomed.
They face their 2012 mortality – down three games to none on the road. The middle of their order punchless and dazed. Their opponents feature a deep starting rotation, strong enough to keep the reeling Yankee offense from getting anything right.
The Yankees are not without hope, however. They get to call on their stalwart: the highest paid yet most underrated pitcher in baseball. The man they bid against pretty much only themselves to acquire. The Yankees leave their season in the capable hands of CC Sabathia, showing once again that even when the Yankees are down, they never actually have it so bad.
The last time CC Sabathia took the hill, he provided a commanding complete game performance, pushing the Yanks to the League Championship Series via a complete game shutout in the deciding fifth game against the upstart Orioles.
It was vintage Sabathia when the Yankees needed him most. Again: they need him tonight if they are to continue playing baseball in 2012. There is no need to concern one’s self with pitcher-batter matchups when CC is on the hill. He throws what he must. A recent uptick in ground balls demonstrates a maturing pitcher who knows efficiency is important (as are the strikeouts he racks up with aplomb.)
Here is what CC throws by situation, via Brooks Baseball.
The Tigers send out their standard issue starting nine. Despite getting precious little from Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder this post season, the Tigers are one win from reaching the World Series. Baseball, man.
- Jackson CF
- Infante 2B
- Cabrera 3B
- Fielder 1B
- Young dh
- Peralta SS
- Dirks LF
- Garcia RF
- Laird C
The Tigers send hard-throwing strikeout monger Max Scherzer to the hill. A study in contrasts, Scherzer could well run right through this slumping Yankees order, using his crushing fastball and big time hammer to keep the whiffs coming. Or the Yankees could make him work and throw strikes, running up his pitch count early to provide access to the Tigers supple underbelly, their bullpen.
The Yankees lineup. Who knows? Swisher is back in, Gardner stays in place of Granderson but moves down to 8th in the order. Let’s see some bunts towards the heft Tigers corner infielders, you guys!
- I. Suzuki lf
- N. Swisher rf
- R. Cano 2b
- M. Teixeira 1b
- R. Ibanez dh
- E. Chavez 3b
- R. Martin c
- B. Gardner cf
- E. Nunez ss
Tigers pretty much got this in bag. Goin’ to the dance! Sendin’ out vibes to the big man upstairs to Bless You Boys.
— Karl Welzein (@DadBoner) October 17, 2012
Despite Karl’s assurances, the Yankees offense showed signs of life in the 9th inning last night. Sure, they only scored one run. But the old, annoying, grinding the game to a half and your patience razor thin Yankees offense. They say tons of pitches and knocked the previously-cruising Verlander out of the game. Even Raul Ibanez, in tough against a lefty specialist, turned in a great PA that eventually went the way of the Tigers.
Against a wilder pitcher like Scherzer, this is the kind of approach the Yankees need to employ from the very start. Grind out at bats and make the power pitcher work. Easier said than done, of course. Keeping your focus when staring out at the bizarre visage of Max Scherzer has driven many a man to the brink of insanity.