Game 1 of the 2011 ALDS resumed Saturday night following Friday night’s postponement after 1.5 innings, and it looked like the Yankees were going to get to Detroit starter Doug Fister immediately, as Jorge Posada and Russell Martin ripped back-to-back hits to lead off the bottom of the second. A baserunning gaffe by Posada — the Yankees’ worst WPA play of the game — helped Fister get out of the inning unscathed and subsequently settle down, as the crafty righty retired 11 straight until Curtis Granderson ripped a single to right field in the fifth.
This brought Robinson Cano to the plate, and you had a pretty good feeling he was going to do something great. And he did just that, just missing a home run (the ball bounced off the top of the wall and back into the field of play) and instead doubling Granderson home to take an important 2-1 lead.
An inning later the Yankees blew the doors off this one, with Mark Teixeira hitting a leadoff double that looked like it was going to be wasted after Nick Swisher got punched out on what looked like a very questionable strike three call (though it actually was a strike, per Brooks) and Martin grounded out. However, Brett Gardner came through with the biggest hit of the game (.154 WPA), singling to right on an 0-2 curveball to score both Tex and Jorge Posada, who’d walked, to make it 4-1. Derek Jeter followed with a single, Curtis Granderson worked a walk, and Cano was back to the plate with the bases juiced.
That was all for Fister (who went 4 2/3, giving up six runs, though striking out six and only walking two), as Leyland opted for Al Alburquerque — he of the MLB-best K/9, 82.7% strand rate and zero HR/9 across 43.1 innings — and Cano responded by absolutely pummeling an 0-1 slider into the night sky, pounding a grand slam into the second deck in right field. Somewhat surprisingly, this was the Yankees’ first postseason grand slam since Ricky Ledee hit one in the 1999 ALCS.
Cano’s bomb made it 8-1 and ostensibly ended the game — the Yankees’ WE shot up to 99% — despite the fact that there were still three more innings to play. Cano added still another double two innings later, ending the game with a Yankee franchise record-tying six RBI in one postseason game, and leading the Yankees to a 9-3 Game 1 victory over the Tigers to take a 1-0 lead in the ALDS. Obviously one-game wOBAs mean nothing, but it’s still awesome that Cano put up a .921 wOBA in this one. The nine runs scored were actually the Yankees’ highest total in a postseason game since Game 4 of the 2009 ALCS against the Angels.
Winning playoff games is always great — especially Game Ones — and this one felt even better since it came against Doug Fister, who a lot of people seemed to be irrationally scared of given a monster second half that was compiled against a lot of bad teams. Additionally, I was particularly excited for the Yankees to beat Fister given that they drafted him in 2005 and he elected not to sign with them. To his credit, Fister actually looked really good for most of his outing, and you could make the case that he really only made the one bad pitch to Gardner, but it still happened and the Yankees made him pay.
The other story of the game of course was Ivan Nova, who came through in a big way in his first-ever postseason “start” — even if the record books will show that he technically came on in relief — throwing 6 1/3 innings of two-run ball while holding the Tigers to only four hits. Nova looked to be on his way to getting through the game without forcing Joe Girardi to go to the bullpen, but he tired in the ninth and wound up loading the bases. Luis Ayala came on and allowed two of Nova’s runners to score, although even though Ayala’s performance resulted in Joe going to Mariano Rivera despite having a six-run lead, Ayala probably wasn’t as bad as he looked, as he got dinked by some bad luck on balls in play. Mo restored order as quickly as possible, dispatching of old friend Wilson Betemit on three pitches, and that would be that.
Though Nova got the job done — no runners scoring while he stood on the mound for six-plus innings is more than I think anyone could’ve reasonably expected from Nova — he actually wasn’t great, issuing four walks and it also seemed like he fell behind a lot of hitters. Girardi himself said that he didn’t think that Nova had his best stuff but was impressed that he was still able to battle through and get outs. Nova did pick up 10 swinging strikes out of the 101 pitches he threw, which seems fairly high for him, and he was able to take advantage of some aggressive/hacky Tiger at-bats, including a huge strikeout of Miguel Cabrera to end the fourth. Nova really only got into trouble in the fifth, giving up back-to-back singles to Alex Avila and Ryan Raburn, but his defense picked him up with a huge relay from Granderson to Jeter to Martin to cut Avila down at home. This wound up being a huge play as it would’ve given the Tigers a 2-1 lead had Avila scored.
Every Yankee starter picked up a hit except Alex Rodriguez, though A-Rod did have the RBI groundout in Part 1 of Game 1, and also hit a deep fly ball to center that looked like it was leaving the ballpark off the bat and might have if not for the wind that was apparently blowing in.
And so the Yankees enter Game 2 at Yankee Stadium with a 1-0 lead over the Tigers in the ALDS, the same way they did five years ago. The Yankees are actually on a seven-game ALDS winning streak; the longest in history. They haven’t lost an ALDS game at home since Game 4 of the 2007 ALDS against Cleveland. Detroit will throw Max Scherzer — and as you’ll see in our pitcher preview Sunday morning, the fact that Scherzer now has to pitch at Yankee Stadium instead of at spacious Comerica could be a nice advantage for the Yankees against the homer-prone righty — while the Yankees will counter with Freddy Garcia.
LIKE TYA ON FACEBOOK
- TYA To Merge With It’s About The Money, Stupid
- What about Kevin Youkilis?
- Teix Now Front And Center On The “Needs To Produce” Radar
- Cashman: Heathcott A Dark Horse Candidate
- A Dog Chasing Cars
- Outfield Trade Targets
- The Problem With Brett Gardner
- A Look At Relief Prospect Branden Pinder
- The Yankees Should Be Realistic, Put Team on Short Leash in 2013
- Briefly discussing the internal options to replace Curtis Granderson
- essentialtexting.com on Open Thread | Game 3 | Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees | Sunday, April 3, 2011
- www25.tok2.com on Sabermetrics Doesn’t Have A Monopoly on Not-Stupid: Mike Trout is the AL MVP
- グッチ 財布 on Sunday Links-Joba’s Timetable, Comparing eras, Pineda
- raspberry ketone diet 1200 on Sabermetrics Doesn’t Have A Monopoly on Not-Stupid: Mike Trout is the AL MVP
- Free riot codes on Off-Topic
- Fran on The Great Subway Race
- sleeping bag hand Orientation on What about Austin Romine?
- camping stove heat diffuser on What about Austin Romine?
- 手機殼 on The Yankees’ Standing In The AL East Right Now
- 手機外殼 on The Yankees’ Standing In The AL East Right Now
TagsA.J. Burnett Alex Rodriguez Andy Pettitte Austin Romine Baltimore Orioles Bartolo Colon Boston Red Sox Brett Gardner Brian Cashman Bullpen CC Sabathia Chien-Ming Wang Cliff Lee Curtis Granderson David Robertson Dellin Betances Derek Jeter Francisco Cervelli Freddy Garcia Game Recap Hiroki Kuroda Ivan Nova Javier Vazquez Jesus Montero Joba Chamberlain Joe Girardi Johnny Damon Jorge Posada Manny Banuelos Mariano Rivera Mark Teixeira Melky Cabrera Michael Pineda New York New York Yankees Nick Johnson Nick Swisher Phil Hughes Prospects Rafael Soriano Red Sox Robinson Cano Russell Martin Tampa Bay Rays Yankees