Burning Questions in the wake of the Tigers’ 9-3 loss to the New York Yankees in Game 1 of the ALDS:
Was the game as lopsided as the score indicated?
No, not that it changes anything; the Tigers are still down 1-0 in the series.
But essentially one bad inning did them in—the sixth, when the Yankees scored six time—as the Yankees had too much two-out bingo for the Tigers to handle.
That frame broke open a close game and made the final score look ugly.
What did you think of Doug Fister’s performance?
Again, one bad inning did him in. At one point, the righty retired 10 straight Yankees as the game looked to be a pitching duel between Fister and rookie Ivan Nova. But Fister’s failure to close out Brett Gardner on an 0-2 pitch was the linchpin of the Yanks’ big sixth inning.
Overall, I thought Fister had pretty good command and for much of the game he looked like the Doug Fister of the past month or so. But the sixth inning killed it, obviously. When he got out of a jam in his very first inning (runners on second and third with nobody out) without a run being scored, I thought that was a good sign. But not good enough, sadly.
So many things went wrong for the Tigers, including things we rarely see, like Austin Jackson failing to nab a long drive to center field and Al Alburquerque surrendering a grand slam. What gives?
That’s playoff baseball, sometimes. You forgot to mention the terrible break the Tigers got in the fifth inning, when Austin Jackson took off from first on a hit-and-run and Magglio Ordonez hit a ball up the middle that normally would have been a single. Instead, 2B Robinson Cano (who was blessed the whole game) was waiting for the grounder right at the bag and turned it into a double play. And that was when the score was 2-1.
In the Yankees’ big inning, Derek Jeter hit a ball to a spot just abandoned by 2B Ryan Raburn, who went to cover second base on a hit-and-run. So when the Tigers try it, they hit into a double play. When the Yanks do it, they hit the ball into the hole for a single. Them’s the breaks.
The slam by Cano was the first homer hit off Alburquerque all year. Sigh.
Where was the Tigers’ offense?
Good question. Nova looked like Bob Gibson until the ninth inning. The Tigers need to wake their bats up, and in a hurry. They really didn’t hit the ball all that hard off Nova all night.
Your thoughts on Nova?
He was just wild enough to be effective. When he missed, he missed badly (balls in the dirt, behind hitters, high and outside). But when he had to make pitches, he pretty much did so.
He’s been a good pitcher for the Yankees, but the Tigers made him look better than he really is.
Should Tigers manager Jim Leyland re-think things and start Justin Verlander in Game 2?
Absolutely not. It’s not panic time—yet. If the Tigers win Game 2, they’ll have their best pitcher on the mound in a 1-1 series—at home.
So the Tigers aren’t in trouble?
Not yet. The beauty of baseball is there’s always tomorrow. The Tigers have the bats to do some damage off Freddy Garcia in Game 2. In less than 24 hours (it’s a 3:07 start), they can wash their mouths of this ugly Game 1.
Any final thoughts?
Let’s hope Game 2 acts like Scope for the Tigers.
(Come back here in the hours after every Tigers post-season game—played or not—to read me answer the “Burning Questions”)