Just when everyone thought the New York Yankees were going to come back to life and make their charge towards the World Series, the Detroit Tigers shut down the vaunted offense when it mattered the most.
The Yanks looked like clear favorites after beating up on the Tigers 10-1 in game 4 at Comerica Park in Detroit. Surely they would do just as well at home with their left-handed heavy lineup and a short right field deck.
Unfortunately for New York, the bats failed them at critical times when they could have blown the game wide open. The Yankees had the bases loaded with one out in the 4th and 7th innings and they could only manage to walk in one run in those two situations.
Aside from Robinson Cano, the Yankees hitters struggled up at the plate and could only hit dribblers and seeing-eye singles. Alex Rodriguez struggled particularly badly with an 0-4 game and two critical strikeouts; one with the bases loaded and 1 out and the other to end the series for New York.
Credit has to go to both pitching staffs for making critical pitches and shutting down both teams offenses. Detroit scored 2 runs on back-to-back homers in the first inning, but they only managed to squeeze one more run off of CC Sabathia who was making his first ever relief appearance.
After that critical run that CC gave up, the Detroit hitters didn’t have a chance against the best three man setup in the game. If the Yankees had pulled ahead, Soriano, Robertson and Rivera would have closed the door.
However, the Detroit bullpen was finally up to the challenge. Benoit through critical strikeouts to get the Tigers out of the 7th inning with only the one run allowed. Valverde had a perfect ninth and took out the heart of the Yankees line up for the save.
In the end, the Tigers found the magic formula for beating the Yankees in the playoffs: Don’t face Mariano Rivera! He through a postseason low of 8 pitches during the 5 game series. The three Tigers hitters didn’t have a chance as he took them out in 5 pitches in the top of the ninth.
So now we know that the Yankees season is over, while the Tigers go on to play the Texas Rangers in the ALCS.