NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 01: Doug Fister #58 of the Detroit Tigers walks off the field in the sixth inning against the New York Yankees during Game One of the American League Division Series at Yankee Stadium on October 1, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
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6 ER: Doug Fister pitched well, but got battered. (Three of those runs came when his reliever gave up a two-out grand slam, we should note.)
8: The Yankees scored seven of their runs with two outs. Didn't matter if Fister made his pitch or not. Take the pitch Robinson Cano doubled off the wall. Fister kept it low and inside and Cano just hit it off the wall anyway to drive in a run
Robinson Cano's grand slam on the second pitch Al Alburquerque put this one out of reach. Al-Al put a slider low and inside -- pretty much the same location Fister did -- and Cano sent it packing. (Note to Tigers pitchers: apparently he likes that spot.) That became just the second extra-base hit and first home run allowed by Alburquerque this season.
And what better way to sum up the game than that, really? Whether it was a "butt text" or poor Mr Berg just collapsed in a fit of despair or exhaustion on his keyboard, we may never know. But I don't think anyone's going to put it all together any better, so I lead off with that.
It was just a weird game altogether. What can you say? First off, the Tigers can't even get batting practice in because every time they do, they get rained on. Then the suspended game in a playoffs thing comes up because of rain, resulting in a change of starting pitchers when the game is picked up a day later. Then you knew there was problem when Alex Avila got thrown out at the plate. Neither Justin Verlander nor Doug Fister pitched remotely like what we've come to expect. Magglio Ordonez hit into a double play on a hit and run where the ball went directly up the middle to second base. And even when Fister put the ball in the right place, the Yankees put the ball in the wrong place. And of course, Alburquerque gives up his first home run of the year and Austin Jackson' doesn't catch balls he normally catches. Strange times, I tell you.
Fister actually got 10 batters out in a row between the second and fifth innings. He struck out five of them. Which isn't to absolve him. If you look at the pitch results chart at Brooks Baseball he did leave a few balls up or in the middle of the strike zone, and the Yankees can certainly make you pay for that. And they idd.
Jim Leyland worried -- well maybe not worried, but noted in the press conference -- that Ivan Nova could be an issue because the Tigers hadn't seen him much outside of video. As it turns out, he was right. Detroit struggled to get much going early. And when they did, Avila getting thrown out at home plate erased it and helped bail the kid out. It took until the ninth inning until Detroit finally messed up his postseason ERA. Too little, too late.
I know some people are going to groan and moan and fear the worst because that's what we've come to expect even when the Tigers drop the second game of a random series in May. They're going to point out that they don't like Max Scherzer pitching in Yankee Stadium. I'm going to be optimistic and point out he strikes out a lot of batters, so hopefully Good Max shows up and not Wrong-Eye. If things are still going bad at about 5:30 or so tomorrow, groan and moan all you want. Otherwise it's just one game. The Tigers dropped the opener in 2006, too. It's not the end of the world, OK?