The Detroit Tigers have slain the dragon that is the New York Yankees and have advanced to face the Texas Rangers in the next round of the MLB Playoffs. The 3-2 victory by the Tigers goes to prove that just because you can go out and buy anything you want in free agency doesn't mean you're going to win, but more importantly, it shows that heart can trump talent on any given day.
The Detroit win was business as usual for them as starter Doug Fister and three relievers kept the Yankee bats from getting the key hit it needed to win this game and this series. New York blew two bases loaded, 1 out opportunities in this deciding game and that proved to be the difference between these two teams.
"It's disappointing. I think there's no other way you can put it," Yankees great Derek Jeter said. "I think that pretty much sums it up."
While Detroit's Manager Jim Leyland looked calm and relaxed with how he wanted this game played out, outside of the occasional trip into the dugout entryway to smoke a nervous cigarette, the Yanks skipper, Joe Girardi, managed the game with panicky, jerky decisions that any arm chair quarterback that's a Yanks fan is sure to complain about. He pulled starter Ivan Nova out after the second inning and used a total of six relievers the rest of the game, including starter CC Sabathia, who allowed 1 run in his first ever relief appearance.
"It was weird," Sabathia said.
Still, odd decisions aside, the difference in this game came at the plate where New York was 2 for nine with runners in scoring position. If you can't get runners home, you're not going to win, period. A lot of blame can be laid at the feet of the Yankees high priced sluggers Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez. Teixeira went .167 (3 for 18) in the series while A-Rod went an anemic .118 (2 for 18). You're not going to win if your stars are giving that type of performance.
"It's devastating. This is going to hurt for a long time," Rodriguez said. "I've got a lot of work for me to do, personally. I've got to get my health back in order and I know exactly what I have to do to get back to help this team get back to the top."
Hats off to the Tigers though, for going into a very hostile New York and winning a deciding game 5. It's not an easy thing to do but it is satisfying, made more so by the reputation and standing of the team they faced. This is a fact that isn't lost on Detroit.
"The Yankees are so good that I would be lying if I said it didn't give me a little extra satisfaction to be able to do it here in the fifth game," Jim Leyland said. "This will be a game I'll remember for the rest of my life."
The Detroit Tigers face the Texas Rangers in game 1 this Saturday.