Found October 14, 2012 on
Fox Sports Detroit:
New York Yankees
As most of the baseball world speculates why the New York Yankees are failing on a stage where they're accustomed to succeeding, perhaps it's time for the experts take a look at what the Detroit Tigers are doing right.
The Tigers lead the American League Championship Series two games to none after Sunday's 3-0 Game 2 victory because their starting pitching has been better.
It was true in the Tigers' AL Division Series victory over the Oakland A's, and it remains true now.
The numbers don't lie.
In seven posteseason games, Tigers starters Justin Verlander, Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer have a combined 0.94 ERA. They have allowed just five earned runs in 48 innings, and haven't given up an earned run in the last 28 23 innings dating back to Game 3 of the ALDS in Oakland.
Still, it hasn't been an easy playoffs for the Tigers because their offense hasn't been lighting up opposing pitchers. The usual M.O. has been to watch the pitchers duel, score late and then hold on for dear life.
Closer Jose Valverde ruined that in Game 1 Saturday night, when the Tigers had to roar back to win 6-4 in 12 innings, but that didn't negate Fister's scoreless 6 13 innings.
On Sunday, it was Sanchez's turn. He didn't allow a run over seven innings and gave up just three hits, striking out seven and walking three, before turning the ball over to a suddenly lights-out Phil Coke.
Sanchez needed to be good because Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda matched him pitch for pitch, holding the Tigers hitless through five innings.
"I thought both starting pitchers were absolutely terrific," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "I haven't seen that much of Kuroda. I thought he was terrific. Sanchez was matching him inning for inning.
"He (Sanchez) was terrific. This is a tough place to pitch with a tough lineup and a short porch and a whole bunch of left-hand hitters. It's not easy. That was quite a feat."
Although Yankee Stadium, with its tight dimensions, is a difficult place for pitchers, Sanchez was able to keep the Yankees off-balance, which kept the fans quiet -- except when they were booing struggling hitters like Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez and former Tiger Curtis Granderson.
"I think Sanchez did a great job of holding them down and keeping us in the ballgame," Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson said. "I think that had a lot to do with it. It took us a while to get going but we were able to get something going and he kept it going."
Sanchez, 28, is a fairly quiet person who just seems to go about his business. But when he struck out Jayson Nix to end the seventh, he pumped his fist and showed more emotion than he had during his entire time as a Tiger.
"He was definitely pumped up," Jackson said. "We feed off that. We like to see that from the pitcher.
"When he's up there, pumped up about what he's doing, that definitely gives us some motivation on the offensive side."
Frustrated Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who was ejected when second base umpire Jeff Nelson missed a call, calling Omar Infante safe when he was clearly out, knows that his hitters are going to have to do a better job against Detroit's starters.
"We know what they're doing to us," Girardi said. "You gotta make the adjustments. They're not going to put it on a tee for us. We know that, and we're more than capable of scoring runs.
"We've done it a number of times this year. We have to make some adjustments."
Easier said than done for the Yankees, who face Verlander in Game 3. He's 2-0 with an 0.56 ERA in the postseason so far, including a complete-game gem in Game 5 of the ALDS.
"Every win is really important right now," Sanchez told TBS on the field after the game. "We need to keep winning and try to make the World Series as soon as we can. I know the Yankees are a very good team.
"We can't give them any chance for tying the series."
If Sanchez and the rest of the Tigers keep pitching the way they have so far, the Yankees coming back to tie the series seems unlikely.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
A blown call on a tag play at second base cost the Yankees two runs and possibly Game 2 against the Tigers in the ALCS. See video of the terrible call here.
Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland has something to think about before Sunday's second game of the American League Championship Series -- whether to change closers for the 169th game of the year. After closer Jose Valverde was hammered for a second straight postseason game, Leyland hinted that a shift might be imminent. "We're going to discuss this as a staff,"...
Jim Leyland was thinking about it. That much, we knew.
The evidence was beyond the Yankee Stadium wall, in left-center field, where Octavio Dotel warmed up in the visiting bullpen. He stirred one batter into the ninth inning Saturday night, after Russell Martin's single started the ninth inning from hell for the Detroit Tigers.
Jose Valverde is the Tigers' closer. He has...
Anibal Sanchez gave a performance against New York that the Detroit Tigers have come to expect from Justin Verlander.
The Tigers' ace is next in line for a chance to toy with the Yankees' suddenly dreadful offense.
Sanchez shut down a Yankees lineup minus the injured Derek Jeter, Detroit scored twice after a missed call by an ump and won without any extra-inning drama,...
Who needs Jose Valverde? Well, says manager Jim Leyland, the Detroit Tigers do. Leyland confirmed the removal of Valverde from his closer's role early Sunday afternoon after two meltdowns in two games, saying Valverde is still the closer -- just not the closer right now. Then Leyland let lefty Phil Coke get the last six outs of Detroit's 3-0 victory over the New York...
Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland announced Sunday afternoon he will not use closer Jose Valverde in that role in, at least temporarily. Leyland did not have a timetable for Valverde to return as closer, but said the pitcher still has the long-term job. Valverde has a 27.00 ERA in 2 1/3 innings of relief during three postseason appearances. On Saturday night, he allowed four...
NEW YORK (AP) -- Jose Valverde didn't finish Game 2 of the AL championship series for the Detroit Tigers but retains his closer's role for now.
"I guess that sounds like I am mud watching, but I am really not," manager Jim Leyland said. "We will do some work with him."
Valverde allowed a tying two-run double to Oakland's Seth Smith on Wednesday in...
The Detroit Tigers have shut down the New York Yankees so far in the AL championship series - and Justin Verlander hasn't thrown a single pitch.
That changes Tuesday night when the Detroit ace takes the mound for Game 3. The Tigers won the first two games in New York, and the only runs the Yankees scored came in a four-run ninth inning against reliever Jose Valverde in the opener...
The video (below) is a major lesson to all who are attending this year's Championship Series MLB games that YOU SHOULDN'T TALK ABOUT PEOPLE IN THE STANDS.According to a Youtube uploader, the family of Prince Fielder chewed out a fan who began picking at Fielder's son in the stand during Game 5 of the Oakland Athletics match-up against the Detroit Tigers, a series...
Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland is loyal to his players, perhaps to a fault.
If the Tigers are going to beat the New York Yankees in the ALCS, that will have to change.
Leyland has stuck with struggling players like Brandon Inge, Brennan Boesch and Ryan Raburn before admitting recently that he stuck with Raburn too long.
Inge didn't stick with the Tigers past April, finding...
There were times this year when Justin Verlander took the mound while his team was reeling a bit - and the right-hander's presence was Detroit's best shot at snapping out of a momentary funk.
Now, the hard-throwing ace is in a different situation. Led by Verlander, the Tigers' rotation has been absolutely terrific this postseason, and his job is simply to keep this remarkable...
The Detroit Tigers beat the New York Yankees 3-0 in game two of the ALCS, last night at Yankee Stadium from the Bronx, NY.
Tigers lead series over Yankees 2-0.
W - Anibal Sanchez (1-0), L - Hiroki Kuroda (0-1), S - Phil Coke (1).
Hiroki Kuroda pitched a great game, even thought he had zero run support. He pitched 7.2 innings, allowed 5 hits, gave up 3 earn runs and...
The Detroit Tigers beat the New York Yankees 6-4 in game one of the ALCS, tonight at Yankee Stadium from the Bronx, NY.
Tigers lead series over Yankees 1-0.
W - Drew Smyly (1-0), L - David Phelps (0-1)
Andy Pettitte pitched a quality game by going 6.2 innings pitched, allowed 7 hits, gave up 2 runs, walked 3 and struck out 5 batters.
Derek Lowe gave up a two-run...
The Detroit Tigers still have Justin Verlander ready to go and surprisingly without the ace pitching they have taken a 2-0 series lead over the New York Yankees. Anibal Sanchez pitched like Verlander today though. Aided by the Tigers defense and a favorable call the Tigers pulled out two wins in Yankee Stadium and will now head home to Detroit looking to close the series out.Yankees...