By: Jamie Samuelsen
This is not a jinx. I don’t believe in jinxes.
This is not me being a homer, even if it sounds like it.
And truthfully, this isn’t all that groundbreaking, because you can see the same things that I see.
The series is done. The Yankees are done. The Tigers are headed back to the World Series. (And no, I will not have my chest hair waxed if the Yankees stage some miraculous comeback. First, I’m not Stoney. Secondly, I really don’t have much chest hair.)
This has nothing to do with the injury to Derek Jeter although that has to be damaging both physically and emotionally to the Yankee effort. But even with a 100% Jeter in the lineup, this mismatch would still be heading in the same direction.
Sports are full of clichés. Some are outdated. Some have been proven wrong over time. And some are proven right as often as they’re proven wrong. But the one undisputable king of the hill, the one cliché that still holds true today is this one – good pitching always beats good hitting. Show me an example where that hasn’t held true and you’ll be the first. But here’s the thing with the Yankees, they don’t even have good hitting. Their offense is nearly unwatchable. So if you believe that good pitching always beats good hitting (which it does), then doesn’t it lead you to believe that good pitching will always beat BAD hitting?
In the next two games the Tigers will send out Justin Verlander (he of the 0.56 ERA this postseason) and Max Scherzer (he of the 0.00 ERA this postseason). Those two will do battle against a Yankee offense that is hitting a combined .205 through seven games of the postseason. During that span, the Yanks have scored a total of 20 runs (that’s fewer than three a game). Take away the seven runs that they scored in the ALDS opener against Baltimore, and the Yankees have just 13 runs in six games (that’s just over two a game).
But wait – it gets worse. The Yankees have played three extra-inning games in the postseason. They played a 12-inning and a 13-inning game against the Orioles. And then they played the epic 12-inning Game 1 against the Tigers on Saturday night. So really, the Yankees have played the equivalent of eight games so far in this postseason, and scored 20 runs total. And again, subtract that seven run outburst against the Orioles and the Yankees have scored 13 runs in 63 postseason innings since Game 1 against Baltimore. Pathetic.
So why would that change starting with Game 3? The answer is simple. It won’t. The Tigers are not a perfect team. And the staggering thing about these playoffs is that there’s not a great team among the bunch. The good news is that there isn’t an asterisk put next to the name of the World Champion simply because the competition was lackluster. The better news is that the Tigers might be the best of a rather unimposing foursome. The Yankees are dead. The Giants starting rotation is in shambles after lefty Madison Bumgarner was lit up again at home in a pressurized playoff situation. Honestly, the team to fear is the Cardinals. And it’s not because they feature some super human lineup or menacing rotation – it’s because they’re the Cardinals and they’ve proven over the last twelve months to be as indestructible as a cockroach.
But the Tigers have Verlander and the amazing starting rotation. And they’re now getting key performances from guys like Delmon Young, Phil Coke, Drew Smyly and Quintin Berry. Someday in the not too distant future, thy might even get a home run or two from Miguel Cabrera. It would sure be nice if that happened this week in the Yankees series. But if it doesn’t? No worries. There still is at least another week of baseball to come.