Game 1 of the American League Championship Series looked bad, then good and then really bad for the New York Yankees. The Yankees wound up losing to the Detroit Tigers 6-4 in 12 innings. The biggest loss will probably wind up being Derek Jeter, who suffered a fractured left ankle while fielding a ground ball in the 12th inning. Jeter is now gone for the rest of the playoffs.
The Yankees made Tigers starting pitcher Doug Fister look like Harry Houdini as he escaped bases loaded jams in the first, second and sixth innings. The usual suspects, Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson, all failed to come through with the bags packed. Yankee manager Joe Girardi finally had had enough with the lack of production from Rodriguez and pinch hit for him in the eighth inning.
The bats finally awakened from their long slumber in the ninth coming through with four runs off Tigers closer Jose Valverde. Ichiro Suzuki and Raul Ibanez each had two run home runs. Both players have been swinging hot bats and came through once again.
The only other player that has shown any life with the bat was Jeter and now he is gone. His place on the roster will probably be taken by Eduardo Nunez, while his place on the field will likely go to Jayson Nix. Unfortunately neither player will be much of a factor at the plate.
The real question becomes can the Yankees use Jeter's injury as a rallying point or will they just roll over. I don't see an obvious guy in the lineup that can get everyone else focused. Someone needs to rattle some cages and tell some of these guys to play situational baseball, instead of constantly swinging for the fences, Curtis Granderson I am looking at you.
The Yankees can take away two good things from this game. First, Andy Pettitte and the rest of the pitching was pretty solid, as it has been for most of the post-season. Second, they proved they can hit the Tigers bullpen. It isn't much to hang our hopes on, but it is all we have. These playoffs already felt different without Mariano Rivera, now with Jeter gone it definitely won't feel the same.
Darren Pare is a third generation Yankees fan. The unique thing is that he lives in the middle of Red Sox nation, Maine, and has for all his life and that gives him a different perspective. You can follow him on Twitter @dpare71 or on Facebook.
More from this contributor:
- Sports & Recreation
- Derek Jeter
- Curtis Granderson
- Alex Rodriguez