October 7, 2006

BETTER EVERYTHING:

Tigers rout Yankees to reach ALCS (Jason Beck, 10/07/06, MLB.com)

The team that couldn't beat the Royals in three tries to win the American League Central overwhelmed the Yankees to win its AL Division Series instead.

While Jeremy Bonderman retired the first 15 batters he faced, Craig Monroe's two-run homer propelled Detroit to its largest offensive attack of the series, sending the Tigers to an 8-3 victory on Saturday night and their first postseason series victory since the 1984 World Series.

It was proof of the old baseball adage of good pitching beating good hitting. The finale, however, showed Detroit with better everything. [...]

Bonderman needed six pitches to retire the side in the first inning, then eight pitches each in the second, third and fourth. He used just 40 pitches through five perfect innings, but 32 of those pitches went for strikes. He racked up two three-pitch strikeouts on Gary Sheffield and another on Derek Jeter.

Not until Robinson Cano's leadoff bouncer up the middle leading off the sixth did New York, hyped by some as one of the most fearsome lineups in history, have a runner on base in a game it needed to win. It didn't produce a run until back-to-back singles from Jeter and Bobby Abreu leading off the seventh set up Jeter to score when Hideki Matsui beat out a would-be double-play throw by a hair.


The Tigers won the three games where the pitching match-up favored them and if Leyland had sense enough to flip-flop Bonderman and Robertson all four would favor them.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 7, 2006 9:16 PM
Comments

Today's game was great, but Kenny Rogers performance last night was inspirational. I can't agree with flipping Robertson for Bonderman though. Bonderman was looking tired at the end of the season. With a little run support, Robertson would easily have had several more wins. What was most surprising was how awful the Yankee pitching is. Arguably, the Tigers, Twins, White Sox and maybe the Indians are all better than the Yanks.

Posted by: JimBobElrod at October 7, 2006 9:34 PM

He's 23--ring the bell and he'll show up. Though his arm may fall off next year. The thing is that he can dominate a lineup, Robertson can't.

Posted by: oj at October 7, 2006 9:41 PM

As I said earlier about the Yanks -- built for a marathon, not for a sprint. Cashman and the Tampa brain trust are going to have to give up at least one or two of their not-past-their-prime hitters if they want any sort of immedate fix in the pitching staff that's not just another aging regular season patch job starter whose spent by the final month of the season.

Posted by: John at October 7, 2006 9:59 PM

Why arent' they asking "where was Phillip Hughes?" Hughes is less than a year younger than Zumaya, the best pitcher in the world that isn't in a major league uniform. Are you telling me the Yanks couldn't have used him?

Bonderman's slider only arrives with rest. It is devastating when it arrives, but it's not always there [see failure to capture division title, Sunday last, Bonderman blows six-run lead].

Has anyone every seen Sheffield and Jeter swing at pitches a foot outside before yesterday? What a pitch. Rest the boy and win it all.

The celebration afterwards was even better than the game. A hugfest with the fans? Prima dona ballplayers aren't supposed to do that. Spraying champagne on the fans? This is a new Detroit, being invaded by suburban love.

Posted by: Palmcroft at October 8, 2006 2:41 PM

Hughes throws ten miles an hour slower than Zumaya and has no other major league pitch yet.

Posted by: oj at October 8, 2006 2:47 PM

OJ,

I dunno, you could be right. His record, WHIP and ERA for his two professional seasons have been sterling.

The Yanks just had nothing in their bullpen, hard to think he couldn't have helped some.

Posted by: Palmcroft at October 8, 2006 3:01 PM

Brian Bruney didn't lose it for them. They have bad starting pitching and no defense.

They should have traded Hughes for a real starter.

Posted by: oj at October 8, 2006 3:14 PM

I thought Wang and Mussina were more than adequate. Johnson's pitches looked good as well, they were not crushing the BU, just nibbling him to death; if his back was killing him, his performance was heroic.

Posted by: Palmcroft at October 8, 2006 3:28 PM

Yes, but Bonderman or Verlander would have beat Wang and Mussina will find a way to lose when it matters.

Posted by: oj at October 8, 2006 3:37 PM

Hughes, by the way, the Yankees farmhand, has more strikeouts than innings pitched in his professional career. All the accounts I read say he has a devastating curveball to go with a low-90's fastball with a lot of late movement.

The Tigers would love to have Phillip Hughes. He would have been in their bullpen going into the playoffs. He's more advanced than college player of the year and Tiger draft pick Andrew Miller.

Posted by: Palmcroft at October 8, 2006 3:46 PM

He's the next Edwin Jackson:

firstinning.com/players/Philip-Hughes-595/

Posted by: oj at October 8, 2006 5:24 PM

OJ,

man, that's a very impressive site; thanks; I guess I'll cede the Hughes argument to you just on the basis of that firstinning.com's obviously high IQ! Assuming their projections are in any way accurate, Phillip Hughes is not necessarily going to be a help for the Yankees at the major league level.

however, I should note, both A-Rod and Jeter were tremendously impressed with the kid when they faced him in batting practice at the beginning of the year; I have no idea if they were reading of a script, however

Posted by: Palmcroft at October 8, 2006 10:47 PM

He can likely help in a couple years, but there's no reason to think he's anything much better than say Humberto Sanchez.

Posted by: oj at October 8, 2006 11:45 PM
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