Will Wednesday night’s postponement of game four slow down the Detroit Tigers in their AL Championship Series with the New York Yankees? With a three games to none lead will a team on the verge of clinching the pennant lose a little momentum?
The Tigers are one game away from sweeping New York. They have not exactly dominated the series. Detroit has simply scored runs while New York has not. The Tigers have won their three games by scores of 6-4, 3-0 and 2-1. Detroit has scored 11 runs and held the inept Yankees to five. New York went through a stretch of 18 innings without a run until Eduardo Nunez homered off of Tigers ace Justin Verlander in the ninth inning of game three.
One day should not hurt Detroit, but every team that has a chance to clinch would like that opportunity sooner rather than later. The Tigers do not want to give the Yankees any room for optimism. New York may not be hitting now, but a day off to collect themselves could help them going into game four.
Another reason for Yankee optimism is that pitcher C.C. Sabathia will take the mound with an extra day of rest. Sabathia went nine innings in his last start on Friday against the Baltimore Orioles. Though he would have been pitching on his normal four days rest Wednesday, having another 24 hours should help him. Then again, Sabathia seems better on three to four days rest instead of five.
New York manager Joe Girardi had planned to bench center fielder Curtis Granderson Wednesday just as he did third baseman Alex Rodriguez in game three. Both have not been hitting well. With the game being moved to Thursday one would think that Girardi will have Granderson and Rodriguez in the lineup.
The Tigers must take all of this into consideration. Though there is nothing that suggests it, Granderson and Rodriguez could come out of their slumps Thursday. Sabathia could pitch a shutout.
Whatever happens, Detroit has to remember that if they do not clinch Thursday then there will be a chance the next day to do it. Every game will start with the score 0-0 and the Tigers must concentrate on the game at hand. If the Yankees win two straight Detroit still only has to win one. If New York ties the series then the Tigers still only have to win one.
Postponing game four may have stopped Detroit from clinching the series Wednesday. It should not stop them from focusing on the task at hand which is getting that final win as soon as possible.