October 17, 2012
ALCS Game Three Recap: Tigers 2, Yankee 1
The wind at Comerica Park was blowing in from center on Tuesday night, which was a bit heavy-handed of Mother Nature, given how beleaguered the Yankees' batters have been even under ideal conditions. Tasked with taking on the best pitcher in baseball, their lineup already reeling from six straight low-scoring games, the Yankees could have used a little help from Linka. Instead, they faced another factor conspiring to keep scoring down, albeit one that probably favored extreme fly-ball pitcher Phil Hughes more than it did Tigers ace Justin Verlander.
Not that Verlander needed much help. Coming off two 11-strikeout starts against the A’s in the ALDS, he added eight scoreless innings to a streak that stood at 15 frames to start the day, before giving up a leadoff home run on a hanging curve to Eduardo Nunez in the ninth.* That run, the only one the Yankees would score, was the first they’d pushed across since Raul Ibanez’s Game One homer 20 innings before—the second-longest scoring drought of their season, after the 22 innings they went without a run from May 1st through May 3rd.
*Which really confused CC Sabathia:
There’s no shame in mustering only one run against Verlander. Over the past two seasons, the righty has allowed no runs or one run in 40 percent of his starts (in related news, he’s probably about to win his second straight Cy Young award). At home, with the aforementioned breeze blowing in, a little light rain, and a game-time temperature of 53 degrees, he was even less likely than usual to run into trouble.
Despite the results, though, this wasn’t vintage Verlander. Yes, his fastball velocity followed the typical upward trend: