Dmitri Young might have been the happiest fan at Comerica Park on Tuesday night.
The former Tigers designated hitter had a good view of his little brother Delmon’s home run during Detroit’s 2-1 victory over the New York Yankees in Game 3 of the AL championship series.
Watching Delmon play in Detroit for the first time, Dmitri, 12 years older than his brother, was in the 25th row behind home plate. He captured video of the solo shot, starting with the crack of the bat.
“I put my phone up and bam!” Young said with an ear-to-ear grin later in the game. “I’m real proud of him.”
Dmitri Young, 39, was a two-time All-Star who played in St. Louis, Cincinnati, Detroit (for five seasons) and Washington from 1996-2008. He was a career .292 hitter with 171 homers, 301 doubles and 683 RBIs.
The elder Young was the 2007 NL comeback player of the year after bouncing back from personal, professional, legal and substance-abuse problems to hit a career-best .320 and become an All-Star for the second time.
MAKING IT WRIGHT: Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright is coming off one of the worst starts of his career. Still, he said it had nothing to do with end-of-the-year fatigue in his first season since missing all of 2011 following Tommy John surgery.
Wainwright allowed six runs over 2 1-3 innings in falling behind Washington 6-0 in Game 5 of the NL division series. St. Louis pulled off a stunning rally and won 9-7, getting him off the hook.
Wainwright said part of the problem was location — three pitches left up in the strike zone in the first inning were hammered. Familiarity might also have been an issue, considering Wainwright faced the Nationals twice late in the season and in Game 1 of the NLDS.
“I may have fell into a pattern,” he said. “I may have gotten a little predictable there.”
The right-hander will get a chance to redeem himself Thursday night in Game 4 of the NLCS against San Francisco.
St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said he’s seen no signs of wear and tear even though Wainwright, counting the playoffs, has topped 200 innings in his comeback season. He was 14-13 with a 3.94 ERA during the regular season.
“We’ve watched him close and those warning signs that we’ve been looking for really haven’t jumped out,” Matheny said. “And we’re going to continue to watch him close just like we do every other pitcher.”
WHERE’S ROBBY? Robinson Cano ended the season on a torrid hitting streak that helped the New York Yankees edge Baltimore for the AL East title.
The playoffs have been an entirely different story.
Cano was hitless in 29 consecutive at-bats, a postseason record, before his ninth-inning single off Detroit left-hander Phil Coke in Game 3 of the AL championship series. The four-time All-Star was 1 for 14 (.071) through the first three games of the series and 3 for 36 (.083) in the postseason.
A striking slump for a guy who batted .615 over the last nine games of the regular season to finish at .313 with 33 homers and 94 RBIs.
“If you talk about one guy struggling in our lineup that might be the most shocking, it is definitely going to be Robby Cano,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Wednesday. “He’s run into some bad luck and at times he chased some pitches. But you hope the hit he got off a lefty — a lot of times you say a lefty gets a hit off a lefty, that’s what’s going to get him going. You hope that’s it.”
Cano, a .258 career hitter in the postseason before this year, was hardly the only Yankees slugger struggling at the plate. New York was batting .200 in the playoffs, including .196 with runners in scoring position. The Yankees hit .182 while dropping the first three games of the ALCS to the Tigers.
Game 4 was postponed Wednesday because of a forecast for heavy rain and rescheduled for Thursday at 4:07 p.m. EDT.
BUMGARNER OUT: Giants manager Bruce Bochy hasn’t ruled out starting Madison Bumgarner again in the NL championship series. It won’t happen in the next two games, though.
Bochy said after Game 3 that Tim Lincecum will start Game 4 and Barry Zito in Game 5.
“We feel it’s time to get Madison a little break,” Bochy said.
Bumgarner won 16 games for the NL West champs this season but has struggled mightily in the playoffs, with an 11.25 ERA in two starts. He lasted just 3 2-3 innings in Game 1 of the NLCS, giving up six earned runs in a 6-4 loss to the Cardinals.
“Well, I don’t think I’m concerned to a point where we don’t plan on using him,” Bochy said. “He’s on the staff. He had a hiccup his first start, actually the last couple. He’s getting out of sync with his mechanics a little bit.”
SEASONED SKIPPER: Often criticized during an uneven regular season, Tigers manager Jim Leyland has been hailed in Michigan for making all the right moves during the postseason.
“When you’re in a passionate town like we’re in, and the people have so much passion for baseball, you are going to have to live with a lot of negatives and a lot of positives,” Leyland said. “You get both of them. You get positives and you get negatives and you have to learn to roll with that punch.”
Leyland deflected credit he’s been getting to a pair of former managers on his staff, third base coach Gene Lamont and hitting coach Lloyd McClendon.
“All three of us were with the Pittsburgh Pirates,” Leyland said. “It hasn’t been easy in Pittsburgh. The economics were not good. They could not go out and get players.”
Leyland leads active managers with 1,676 wins in the regular season, a total that ranks him 15th on the career list.
He is managing in the playoffs for the third time with Detroit and seventh time overall in 21 years. Leyland led the Pirates to three consecutive NL East titles from 1990-92, left to lead the Florida Marlins to a World Series championship in 1997 — his first year with the franchise — was Colorado’s manager for only one season and helped the Tigers reach the 2006 World Series during his first year in the Motor City.
“I am fortunate to have been around a lot of good people,” he said. “And, it all boils down to the same thing at the end: Get good players, you have a chance.”
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