The Detroit Tigers advanced to the World Series with an 8-1 victory over the Yankees in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series.
The Yankees, who never had a lead in any of the four games in this series, continued to struggle at the plate in Game 4, with just two hits.
C.C. Sabathia pitched poorly as well, unable to get out of the fourth inning and allowing 11 hits and six runs. Max Scherzer countered with a very strong performance, striking out 10 in five and two-thirds innings.
The Tigers hit four home runs, two by the short stop Jhonny Peralta, which was more than enough to advance to the World Series, where they will play either the San Francisco Giants or the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Yankees had the best record in the American League this year, but their bats went silent at the worst time and they now face a long winter full of question marks.
How would you fix the Yankees? Do they need to be fixed? You have all winter to debate this, why not start now.
In the final inning of their season, the Yankees fittingly went down in order.
Teixeira lined out softly to Peralta at short, Rodriguez grounded out to Peralta and Nix popped up to Fielder at first.
The Tigers are on their way to the World Series and the Yankees have a lot of soul-searching to do this winter.
Cano, Ibanez and Swisher just sitting in the dugout staring at the Tigers celebration.
#Yankees went 2 for 30 with 12 K today
Peralta hits his second home run of this game and the fourth of the game total for the Tigers. The Yankees beat teams all year with the long ball, and they’ll end their season getting beat by the long ball.
Great, quick shot on TBS of crowd cheering HR, right at the bottom of the screen were two men sitting, stone-faced. One was Brian Cashman.
The Tigers are batting against David Robertson with a 7-1 lead. Looking ahead to the ninth, it’ll be Teixeira, Rodriguez (maybe?) and Nix.
It’s a blockbuster trade reunion! Phil Coke, acquired from the Yankees in 2009, joins the party. Scherzer pitched great, Jackson is 2 for 4 with a home run and Granderson struck out for the 16th time this postseason.
Austin Jackson pours salt on the wound. An inning after Granderson strikes out, the player he was traded for nearly three years ago hits a solo home run to put this game further out of reach.
Just in case you forgot what Granderson looks like after he strikes out, he just did it again.
Jayson Nix worked a walk before that at-bat after replacing Eric Chavez, who has had quite a forgettable postseason.
Joba Chamberlain came in to pitch the sixth and he kept it a 6-1 game, but it was not pretty. The Tigers were robbed of an insurance run when with a runner on first, Garcia hit a fly ball to right that bounced over the wall on one hop, forcing the runner to stop at third. But Chamberlain did somehow stop Delmon Young from getting a hit, so he gets credit for that.
Yankees have nine outs left to erase a five-run deficit.
In came Drew Smyly for Detroit, and in came Alex Rodriguez for the Yankees. The good news for Yankees fans is that he did not strike out. He actually put some good wood on the ball but he flied out to Jackson in center, leaving runners on first and third.
The Yankees have runners on first and third with two outs and will now face a new pitcher. Scherzer pitched really well, striking out 10 in five and two-thirds innings and didn’t allow a hit until this inning. But he got up to 98 pitches this inning and came into this game with a 100-pitch limit.
Swisher comes through for the Yankees. I have not been able to say that in a long time. He hit a line-drive double to center field that brought home Nunez.
You are welcome, Yankees fans. The Sablich jinx works again!
Nunez lined one to left into the gap and ended up at third base with a triple. Yankees with a runner at third with Swisher up and one out.
A reader asked whether or not Scherzer came from the Yankees in the Granderson-Jackson deal from the winter of 2009.
Scherzer did come to the Tigers in that trade, but it was a three-team deal that also involved the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Scherzer, along with Daniel Schlereth, came to Detroit from Arizona, who received Edwin Jackson. The Yankees sent Jackson and Phil Coke to the Tigers and received Granderson.
In Game 4, Scherzer is pitching a no-hitter, Jackson is 1 for 3 with a walk and Granderson is on the bench.
The Tigers were looking to add to their lead, with runners on first and second and two outs, but Rapada, who was brought in to replace Eppley, got Garcia to ground out.
I mentioned the fact that Hiroki Kuroda had a no-hitter through five innings during Game 2 on Sunday, and that totally jinxed him. So it’s only fair that I now mention that Scherzer has a no-hitter through five innings.
Cody Eppley is in this game in the fourth inning. If that’s the only thing you’ve read about this game, then you know that it can’t be good for the Yankees.
Sabathia pitched three and two-thirds innings, allowed 11 hits and five earned runs. He struck out three and walked two.
With two outs, Young singled on a ground ball to left field and came around to score on a home run from Peralta. Everything that could have gone wrong for the Yankees in this game has gone wrong so far.
A lot of the Tigers’ hits today have not been hit hard. But this one, this one was hit hard.
After Infante hit a soft liner to center with one out, Cabrera came up and crushed a ball over the left-field wall. The way the Yankees have been hitting, this feels like a 12-0 lead, not 4-0.
How many times have you seen a player make a bad play in the field and then come up the next inning and strike out? Oh, wait, I think I got this saying mixed up…
Teixeira, after two poor defensive plays in the bottom of the third, struck out in the top of the fourth as part of another one-two-three inning for the Yankees. Ibanez also struck out against Scherzer, who now has seven strikeouts.
Sabathia is over 70 pitches, but there’s still a chance he’ll go deep in this game, since he had an extra day off and doesn’t have to worry about starting a potential Game 7 thanks to the rain-out.
texeira now has twice as many errors (2) in nine postseason games than he had in 123 regular season games (1).
With the bases loaded, Laird worked the count to 3-1, but Sabathia got him to fly out to right field.
What’s more frustrating than not being able to hit? Not being able to hit and playing poor defense. Sabathia is not as dominant, but the Tigers are not exactly tearing the cover off of the ball.
Now would be a good time to score some runs, something the Yankees have rarely done this postseason prior to the ninth inning.
The Yankees have scored 16 runs this postseason, only eight of those have been during the first eight innings. The other eight have been scored in dramatic fashion in either the ninth inning or in extra innings. None of the five runs they’ve scored in the A.L.C.S. have been in the first eight innings. In this case, better late than never is not going to cut it.
Did they need smooth the infield dirt around first? 2 errors, 1 for Prince, 1 for Tex and 1 should-have-been for Tex.
Peralta drove one to the track, but Ichiro put it away for the second out. But the next batter, Dirks, chopped one to Teixeira and this time, he did get charged with an error as the ball popped out of his glove. With the bases loaded, Garcia bounced one up the middle that Nunez got to, but he had no time to throw out Garcia.
Sloppy defense in the third inning, surprisingly so from Teixeira.
Peralta comes up with runners on first and second with one out. Fielder singled (though it should have been called an error on Teixeira) and Young walked.
Girardi said that on Wednesday he had come up with a lineup that actually included Rodriguez and Chris Stewart for Game 4 and accidentally sent it over to Tigers Manager Jim Leyland instead of the one he eventually settled on. The correct one was then sent over, he said.
“It was a mistake,” he explained. “I sent the wrong one. I had a few. I had one with Stew in there because I wasn’t sure Russell was going to be able to play.”
Russell Martin is playing through a jammed left thumb.
— David Waldstein
The Yankees had their first base-runner of the game in this inning as Eduardo Nunez reached on an error and then stole second base. Then Ichrio, Scherzer’s nemesis from the first inning, had another great at-bat, working the count once again to 3-2, but this time he earned a walk.
But with runners on first and second and two outs, Swisher was called out on a third strike.
Only good news here is that Scherzer is now above 50 pitches, but the Yankees are not hitting the ball hard, when they’re not striking out. Scherzer has five strikeouts through three innings.
pitches piling up for Scherzer. mid 50s after 3. we will see the Tigers bullpen today.
Ichiro, who drew 22 walks all season, has seen 17 pitches in his first two at-bats. He walks after 8-pitch AB in the third.
After two dominant performances in the postseason, maybe the bar has been set unrealistically high, but Sabathia certainly looks more human today. His velocity is a bit down, hovering around 90-91 miles per hour, and has already given up three solid hits (and one infield hit) over two innings. His pitch count is already over 40 pitches.
CC’s fastball clocked at 91-92 in 1st inning. Result: 3 hits and a run
With one out in the first inning, Omar Infante hit a weak ground ball to Chavez at third base and just flat out beat the throw an reached on an infield single. He would come around to score after singles from Prince Fielder and Young.
It’s a play Chavez should have made. There was no error and the throw was fine, he just reacted too slowly off of the bat. This won’t help keep those fans happy who want Rodriguez out there.
So the Tigers score in the first inning. The Yankees have no idea what that feels like. In fact, all of their runs in this series (five) have come in the ninth inning and all are from home runs.
Yankees will score today, I can feel it. But CC has been on such a roll, you wonder if he’s due an average outing
Delmon Young just drove in the first run of this game on a line-drive single to right field. Tigers have runners on first and second with two out.
Scherzer throws 19 pitches, but allows no hits and strikes out Swisher and Cano, who could not catch up to the fastball during their at-bats, repeatedly fouling off heaters right down the plate.
Scherzer is on a pitch count because he dealt with right shoulder fatigue in the later part of the season, so it’s imperative that the Yankees are patient at the plate, but they have to be able to hit his fastball.
Scherzer is on a 100-pitch count, and Ichiro Suzuki did his part in making sure he gets there sooner rather than later. He worked the count to 3-2 before popping out, but he made Scherzer throw nine pitches.
Just moments away from the first pitch. It’s not raining, just like it wasn’t raining before the scheduled start of the game on Wednesday evening. But the difference today is we’re actually going to play baseball, because there’s no rain in the forecast.
Obviously, the Yankees have the right man on the mound with their season on the line
C.C. Sabathia pitched a complete game in Game 5 of the A.L.D.S. against the Baltimore Orioles and was one out shy of another complete game in Game 1 of the same series. He’s 2-0 with a 1.53 earned run average and 16 strikeouts in the postseason so far, and he’s 3-0 in three starts against the Tigers this season
Detroit’s starter, Max Scherzer, lasted just four and two-thirds innings against the Yankees in his only start against them in 2012 (a 6-2 loss), but that was back on April 29. Scherzer was much more effective in the second half of the season, going 6-1 with a 2.08 E.R.A. with 80 strikeouts in 65 innings over his last 11 regular season starts.
It’s going to come down to whether the struggling Yankees offense can give Sabathia some run support. We all know how bad the numbers have been, but in case you’re unaware, the Yankees have a .200 batting average in this year’s postseason and a .158 average in the A.L.C.S. The lowest average they’ve ever had in a postseason series was back in 1963, when they batted .171 as a team against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series.
Girardi on Hughes’ back and potential to pitch in a game 7: “We believe he’s going to be OK and he’d be available to us, yes” #NYY
The lineups that were announced Wednesday are the same for Thursday. Again, no Rodriguez or Granderson, who was 0 for 3 Tuesday night and is 3 for 29 overall this postseason. Swisher is back in the lineup after being benched for Game 3, and Brett Gardner replaces Granderson in center.
1) Ichiro Suzuki, LF
2) Nick Swisher, RF
3) Robinson Cano, 2B
4) Mark Teixeira, 1B
5) Raul Ibanez, DH
6) Eric Chavez, 3B
7) Russell Martin, C
8) Brett Gardner, CF
9) Eduardo Nunez, SS
CC Sabathia, SP
1) Austin Jackson, CF
2) Omar Infante, 2B
3) Miguel Cabrera, 3B
4) Prince Fielder, 1B
5) Delmon Young, DH
6) Jhonny Peralta, SS
7) Andy Dirks, LF
8) Avisail Garcia, RF
9) Gerald Laird, C
Max Scherzer, SP
It now seems like a legitimate question to ask: has Alex Rodriguez played his last game with the Yankees? With the team facing elimination, Rodriguez is being benched for the third time this postseason for Game 4 and there are rumors flying around baseball that the Yankees already had talks with the Miami Marlins about trading Rodriguez.
The trade rumors started on Keith Olbermann’s MLB.com blog. Olbermann reported that the Yankees had held talks with the Marlins about swapping Rodriguez for reliever Heath Bell and that the Yankees would take on much of Rodriguez’s remaining contract. Olbermann claimed that he did not know how serious the talks were, but that a Marlins official involved was confident that a deal would eventually get done.
Brian Cashman, the Yankees’ general manager, said Wednesday in a pregame press conference that the report was “100 percent false.”
“Purely baseball related,” Cashman said of the decision not to play Rodriguez. “This is all about winning, regardless of the report that is out there that is a non-baseball-related story.”
Rodriguez does have a no-trade clause in his contract, but it is widely believed that if there’s one team he’d waive it for, it’d be for his hometown Miami Marlins.
Regardless of the Marlins rumors, it seems as though the Rodriguez benching has gone beyond a baseball decision, despite claims from Cashman and Yankees Manager Joe Girardi, that it’s based on his struggles against right-handed pitching.
In his press conference, Cashman implied that Rodriguez could get a chance against left-handed pitchers in this series and that Eric Chavez was a viable alternative to Rodriguez.
The problem with that is the Tigers don’t have any left-handed starting pitchers, and when Girardi had a chance to use Rodriguez against the left-handed Phil Coke in the ninth inning last night, he did not. Meanwhile, Chavez is 0 for 14 so far in the postseason.
So what the Yankees are left with is a $30-million-a-year platoon player, as Harvey Araton wrote on Thursday.
Araton writes that, “whatever in-house resentment there is for him and his contract is misplaced and grossly unfair.” He points out that Rodriguez never forced the Yankees to re-sign him and that, in fact, Rodriguez gave the team “an airtight excuse” for cutting ties after Rodriguez opted out of his contract during the 2007 World Series.
Is the benching of Rodriguez really a baseball decision? We very well may have seen the last of Rodriguez on the field as a Yankee, even if the Yankees manage to win Game 4. Was he being punished for allegedly trying to pick-up an Australian model during Game 1 of this series? Who knows?
The more pressing questions are: Was it smart to bench Rodriguez in Game 3 and in Thursday’s Game 4 and should he be traded this off-season? Feel free to debate this point in the comments and I’ll be back later this afternoon with live updates and analysis of Game 4 in Detroit.