For six innings, a pitching duel between Justin Verlander and CC Sabathia appeared to live up to its advance billing. Neither the Tigers nor Yankees could put a run on the board.
That's an oversimplified account, however, skipping quite a few details. Verlander was indeed dominant, allowing just three hits with no Yankees baserunner getting past second base. Sabathia, on the other side, was let off the hook by a Detroit offense that yet again squandered several scoring opportunities.
- In the first inning, the Tigers had two runners on with only one out, but neither Marcus Thames nor Magglio Ordonez could get a base hit to drive home a run.
- Detroit had two runners on with one out again in the second, but Adam Everett hit a shallow pop-up to center and Curtis Granderson struck out.
- The Tigers put two runners on with a single and hit batsman in the fourth, but Gerald Laird grounded into an inning-ending double play.
- In the sixth, a Thames single and Ordonez double gave Detroit runners on second and third with only one out, but both Ryan Raburn and Brandon Inge hit shallow pop-ups.
Perhaps just as frustrating was how the Yankees broke through for their two runs in the seventh. Alex Rodriguez lofted an outside fastball from Verlander just over the right field fence for a leadoff homer. (And so the Tigers appear to have been victimized by what so many have complained about with the new Yankee Stadium. The shorter right field fence.) Nick Swisher blooped a ball just inside the left field line for a double. And then the Yankees' second run scored when Swisher screened Adam Everett from getting to Melky Cabrera's ground ball, giving Cabrera just enough of a step to beat out the throw to first.
Does that sound like whining? Sure, there's some frustration there. But I probably shouldn't complain too much as Thames's eighth-inning home run just snuck over the fence in left field. Would that have gone out at the old Yankee Stadium? Look at this diagram again. (The left field fence is much farther away than that short porch in right, however.)
And oh yeah, how about pinch-hitting for Maggs in the eighth, Jim Leyland? Did you notice him swing and miss at 92 m.p.h. fastball up in the zone? Didn't think Clete Thomas might help out there?
Of course, none of that would've ultimately mattered if the Tigers had put some more runs on the board. (It reminds me of listening to The Fabulous Sports Babe in the early days of WDFN. Callers would complain about a bad call costing their team a game, and she'd just shriek, "Score more points!") It's the same song the Tigers have been playing most of this season, and it's getting tiring to listen to.
Comment of the Day:
Screw the talk about Halladay
Get another bat… and a bullpen arm… and a pony.
And your runner-up. This one might have to catch on.