The New York Yankees are historically the most successful postseason franchise in baseball, but you wouldn't know it from the looks of things right now. The Yanks are down 0 games to 2 to the Detroit Tigers as they take to the road for the next 3. The team with the highest payroll in baseball doesn't usually evoke much sympathy from outsiders, but right now even the Yankee faithful have seen just about enough.
On Tuesday, October 16, Detroit's ace pitcher Justin Verlander will look to knock the Yankees one game closer to elimination when he takes the mound for Game 3. Not that Verlander needs much help from any opponent, but the Bronx Bombers, a name I use loosely at the moment, will come into the game hitting just .191 in this series. The Tigers have held them scoreless for 20 of 21 innings.
Nick Swisher, Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, and Alex Rodriguez, four of the Yankees' biggest threats, are a collective 12 for 107 this postseason. To put in perspective just how bad that is, National League pitchers have a higher combined batting average than those four guys this postseason.
At least things can't get any worse, right Yankee fans? Oh, right, that whole Derek Jeter broke his ankle thing. Jeter, the team's most experienced postseason player and one of the only guys in the lineup who was actually producing, fractured his ankle in the 12th inning of Game 2. Instead of chasing balls in the hole from shortstop, the Yankees' Captain will be watching the next 3 games in the company of a foot and ankle specialist in Charlotte, North Carolina.
To say things look bleak for the Yankees would be an understatement. But if this year's postseason has taught us anything, it's that improbable does not mean impossible. Historically, the Yankees have twice come back from an 0-2 hole to win a 7 game series; first in the 1978 World Series against the Dodgers, and again versus the Braves in the 1996 World Series.
Dwelling on injuries and slumps will get the Yankees about as far as A-Rod has been hitting the ball lately. The only thing they can do at this point is put down the newspapers, log out of their Twitter accounts, forget Games 1 and 2 ever happened, and focus on the 3 game series in Detroit. Winning 2 of 3 would still leave them in a bind, but if the Jeter-less Yanks can find a way to muster enough offense to take the road series, they're back in New York just two wins away from a World Series.
No sweat, right?
Sources: stats from mlb.com
Joe is a lifelong New York Yankees fan.
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