The New York Yankees pitching carried the team to get in to the ALCS, to face the Detroit Tigers. It’s time for the Yankee bats to come alive and get out of this October slumber if they expect a chance at a 28th ring.
To say the Yankees hitting did not show up in the ALDS against the Baltimore Orioles would be an understatement. If you take out Derek Jeter and anyone with less than one start, the Yankees batting average added up could maybe buy lunch at a fast food restaurant.
The pitching was excellent, but for a lineup built to score, playing in a hitter’s park, they need to get this ship righted now. How long can that staff put zeros on the score board against a lineup like Detroit? This is not the young Orioles team they are facing; this is a Tigers lineup that has Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and former Yankee, Austin Jackson.
Those are just the big names, but the Detroit lineup also has players like shortstop Jhonny Peralta, who has owned Game 1 starter Andy Pettitte. In 16 career at-bats, Peralta has six hits, three home runs and nine RBI’s against Pettitte.
The Tigers have Jackson leading off, setting the big hitters up. He is also a threat on the bases, which is what makes it so crucial for the Yankee pitchers to get him out. If the Yankees expect to win, there cannot be runners on with Cabrera, Fielder and the rest of the talented Detroit lineup at the plate. Fielder is a scary man when he gets hot, especially hitting in New York with the short porch in right. The power runs deep for the Tigers, but getting Jackson out can make the difference between a scoreless inning and a big one.
To see the numbers the Yankee batters had against Baltimore is hard to imagine. Teams do slump now and then, but they can also get on a roll just as quick. For New York, the key is going to be getting this groove going in the first two games, before having to face Justin Verlander.
Last year, Detroit knocked the Yankees out in the ALDS and as much as the Yankees always seem to say the right thing, it has to be on their minds; how could it not be?
In the glass half-full side of this match-up for New York: Cabrera did not have a spectacular series in the ALDS, the Yankees don’t have to face Verlander until Game 3, and the Yankee lineup is still talented.
On paper, this is a very close match-up. Each team has a horse, the Yankees with CC Sabathia and the Tigers with Verlander. Last year, the Yankees hit Verlander and if they actually start hitting to their potential, they can again.
Jeter is lighting up the postseason again, Ichiro Suzuki has started to hit, and how long can Robinson Cano be held without a huge game? The Yankees may not be able to boast about having a Triple Crown winner or a Prince in the lineup, but they are the kings of New York.
The entire Yankees lineup can go toe-to-toe with anyone, but they have to be patient and not press against the Tigers. The Tigers lineup is good, but they can be shut down; at times this year they went cold for longer than five games.
The Yankees need the starting staff to stay on fire and they will have to start off without their horse. Not to worry New York fans, this is why Pettitte came back, and why Hiroki Kuroda, who will pitch in Game 2, as well as Phil Hughes, get paid big money for a starting spot on the team with the highest payroll in baseball. If they want to go out and silence all the “Yankees are only in it because they can buy” talk, than now is the time to put up or get out of the way.
The same can be said for the Yankees lineup, all the talk has focused on Alex Rodriguez as he struggles again in October, but this is by no means anything new. The talk of how great a teammate he is and how much he has matured is wonderful, but he needs to hit.
Getting up with guys on second and third in the bottom of the eighth inning of Game 4 of the ALDS against the Orioles and not even being able to make contact can’t happen. If he is tired of hearing all the talk every year about his October slumps, then it’s time to silence his critics with some hits. Talk of him not being on the playoff roster is ridiculous, the Yankees are a better team with him, even if there is only a slight possibility of him hitting.
Whatever the Yankee hitters need to do to get the Bombers back in Bronx Bombers, they need to do it now or it won’t take long before the Bronx Zoo gets out of control, and the Yankees, again, will be sitting at home watching the World Series.