Friday, October 7, 2011
Tigers make history to reach ALCS
The Detroit Tigers were outscored 28-17 in five games, but won the series with two one-run wins and one two-run win. Eleven runs is the biggest run differential for a team that won a League Division Series.
The New York Yankees struggled with runners in scoring position throughout the series. In Game 5, the Yankees were 2-for-9 but did not score on either hit. In the three losses, the Yankees were 3-for-21 with runners in scoring position and left 26 runners on base.
Before leaving the game in the seventh game with a mild oblique strain, Delmon Young became the first Tigers player to hit three home runs in a postseason series. When Don Kelly and Young hit consecutive first-inning pitches out of the park, they became the first Tigers to hit back-to-back postseason home runs.
A tight forearm forced Ivan Nova from the game after two innings. In those two innings, he had recorded six swings-and-misses, a personal record for the first two innings. The Yankees ended up using seven pitchers, tied for the most ever in a winner-take-all postseason game. All four teams to use seven pitchers have lost the game.
Robinson Cano hit a solo home run in the fifth inning to get the Yankees on the board. It was Cano’s eighth career postseason home run. Both of Cano’s home runs in the ALDS came off sliders. Including the postseason, 10 of his 30 home runs came against the slider, the most of any pitch type.
Max Scherzer recorded four outs while serving as the bridge from starter Doug Fister to the Tigers bullpen. Scherzer was able to keep the Yankee hitters off-balance with his changeup. Including the regular season, New York hitters missed on 16 of 36 swings (44 percent) against Scherzer’s changeup. In the ALDS, the Yankees were 0-for-8 with four strikeouts.
Mariano Rivera barely had the opportunity to pitch in the series. He threw five pitches in the ninth inning of Game 5 and just eight for the entire series. That’s the fewest pitches that Rivera has thrown in 32 career postseason series. The Yankees have lost all four series where Rivera threw 28 pitches or less.
Jose Valverde, meet Grover Cleveland Alexander. They are the only two pitchers to finish a road win in a winner-take-all one-run game at Yankee Stadium. Pitching for the Cardinals, Alexander was on the mound when Babe Ruth was caught stealing to end the 1926 World Series.
Alex Rodriguez struck out to end the game and finished the ALDS going 2-for-18 with six strikeouts. It was the second straight year that Rodriguez struck out for the final out of the Yankees season. The Elias Sports Bureau reports that he is the first player to strike out for his team’s final out in consecutive postseasons and the sixth player to make the final out (regardless of type) in two straight postseasons.