The Detroit Tigers put an end to the New York Yankees season in a much more abrupt manner than most of us probably would have imagined. There would be no revival for the Yankees once potent offense in the ALCS. The Yankees managed to score just five runs through the first three games of the series, and they would only add one more before the Tigers executed the sweep behind a strong start by Max Scherzer and four home runs.
Injuries, defensive lapses and a disappearing act from their superstars’ bats would be enough to sink the Yankees. There was, of course, the domination they would be forced to endure at the hands of the Tigers starting staff – who collectively surrendered just 14 hits and two earned runs in 27.1 innings of work.
Joe Girardi elected to run with the lineup he had planned for Wednesday night. A lineup that did not feature the Yankees regular season home run leader in Curtis Granderson or the much maligned Alex Rodriguez. Both Granderson and Rodgriguez would enter the game as pinch hitters, but neither would make an impact. Scherzer took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before being lifted for Drew Smyly after reaching 98-pitches. Scherzer finished the game with a very tidy line: 5.2 IP; 2 H; 1 ER; 2 BB; 10 K.
The Tigers opened up the scoring with a run crossing the plate on a Delmon Young single in the first inning, and they would blow it open with home runs from Miguel Cabrera and Jhonny Peralta in the fourth inning. Peralta would later add another home run in the eighth. Austin Jackson also homered. Delmon Young, defying science and even the most optimistic expectations, was named ALCS MVP.
With that, these two teams part ways and face varying degrees of questions. For the Tigers, it is a question of who they will face in the World Series. Will they assume the role of dragon slayer and face the St. Louis Cardinals? Or will they draw the ire of cool kids everywhere and face the ultra hip San Francisco Giants? Game Four of the NLCS goes tonight, with the Cardinals holding a 2-1 series lead.
Here’s a sampling of what we saw tonight:
The Win Expectancy Graph
The Most Important Play of the Game
The home runs were nice to look at and all, but the Yankees hopes were ultimately extinguished in the third inning on a pair of defensive breakdowns. With the Tigers leading 1-0 with two outs and runners on first and second, C.C. Sabathia induced a ground ball off the bat of Andy Dirks. It should have been a routine play for Mark Teixeira at first base. Instead, this happened:
Sure, a lumbering Sabathia could or could not have made a better effort to get to the bag, but it wouldn’t matter as the Tigers would plate the eventual winning run on an Eduardo Nunez error on the very next play:
The Shamsky Award
Named after 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.
By definition of the award, tonight’s recipient is Eduardo Nunez. Eduardo Nunez went 1-for-3 and scored the Yankees only run. Yes, that Eduardo Nunez.
The Tweets of the Game
Joe Girardi must have a sweet severance package.
— Bobby Big Wheel (@BobbyBigWheel) October 18, 2012
What if I told you a Jew would root for Delmon Young? — Bill Hanstock 30 for 30
— Bill Hanstock (@sundownmotel) October 18, 2012
Everyone across the USA should walk out of work for baseball and freedom right now. It’s our birthright. And I’ll go first. Later, corncobs.
— Karl Welzein (@DadBoner) October 18, 2012
New Theory: Delmon Young is a Terminator T-1000 sent from the future to destroy baseball
— Jay Jaffe (@jay_jaffe) October 18, 2012
Don’t try to tell me that this sweep happens if Derek Jeter is in the lineup. His leadership wouldn’t allow it.
— Hunter Roscoe (@HunterRoscoe) October 18, 2012
Brian Cashman just threw A-Rod a baseball which read “Write down which teams you’d waive your no trade clause for”
— Eric Stangel (@EricStangel) October 18, 2012
The Three Stars
1. Max Scherzer: As pathetic as the Yankees offense has been in this series, Scherzer still had to bring it in order to give the Tigers a shot at the sweep. Scherzer brought it in the most Scherzer-esque manner he could. High pitch count and strikeout totals and a semi-early exit.
2. Jhonny Peralta: Two home runs in a rout is good enough for me. HOME RUNS.
3. Delmon Young: Young earns a star based solely on his accomplishment of drawing a walk tonight, something he only did 20 times during the regular season. Oh, Young was also named the ALCS MVP. I’ll call him a bust and I’ll call him a piece of garbage, but man – he has an innate ability to make decent contact in the postseason.