The Tigers moved one step closer to sweeping out the listless and disinterested Yankees Tuesday night, winning 2-1 and taking a commanding 3-0 lead. The yankees could only muster 2 hits against Justin Verlander who was absolutely dominant. Phil Hughes matched Verlander early, throwing three scoreless innings of his own. But after giving up a solo shot to Delmon Young, Hughes got hurt. It's kinda what Phil Hughes does. David Phelps came on to relieve him. The Tigers would finish off their scoring an inning later when Miguel Cabrera doubled in Quinten Barry. After 132 pitches, Old Smokestacks Jim Leyland would pull Verlander with one out in the ninth, bringing in incredibly average lefty Phil Coke. For some reason, Yanke manager Joe Girardi didn't pinch hit SS Eduardo Nunez, who made me and all the other second guessers look foolish by driving a home run to left. Gotta love baseball. Texiera and Robinson Cano would single before Uber late inning wonderman Raul Ibanez suddenly turned into Raul Ibanez and struck out.
THE STUD- Gotta be Justin Verlander. 8 1/3 of 2 hit, no run ball. He wasn't always dominant as there were at least nine 3 ball counts on batters that I saw. But he was Verlander and threw a pitch they couldn't hit. Must be fun to have one of those. Can't wait till the Cubs get one.
THE DUD- Take your pick, no one on the Yankees is really ommitting himself from contention. ( Except for the pitching, which has been stellar.) I think we'll give it to Joe Girardi. Benching or not Benching A-Rod will always be a no win situation. But A-Rod's defense is better that Chavez's and starting Brett Gardner over "Swishalicous" was based on defense. And while he was proven right with a HR, letting Nunez, and Gardner hit in the ninth with your playoff lives in the balance and 50 million worth of hitter on the bench.... and well, I've seen Girardi have better games.
THE IN-BETWEEN- John Smoltz is a really good analyst. Really good. When he said "Does Phil Coke have the guts to throw a 3-2 slider here or will he go fastball? Big Boy moments. Big boy decisions..." He not only gave good insight, but added drama. Good stuff. Unfortunately Ron Darling felt the need to speak and would throw out the most inane opinions on things. Darling on his own is usually fine ( I like him on Met games when Keith Hernandez is too important to not be there.) But the three don't work. Really like Smoltz. If they ever wake up and realize McCarver is awful, would love to see Smoltz get a crack at it.
The Yankees look like they're ready to spend some of their over inflated contract money and go somewhere else. Hell, A-Rod's already moved on to other things. CC tries to extend it to a game 5, but I don't see it going any further than that. I'm totally amazed that the Yankees can't hit. Tonight, you can say it was Verlander. He was great. But I haven't seen a Yankee team chuck it like his in awhile. Of course, that probably makes a lot of people happy. Gotta love baseball.