If not for one ninth-inning implosion by the gas can known as Jose Valverde, do you know how
many runs the Yankees and Tigers would have combined to produce through the first three games of the American League Championship Series? Ten. The Yankees, who have benched Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher, lost Derek Jeter to a broken ankle and bumped Curtis Granderson—he of the 43 regular-season home runs—to eighth in the batting order, are hitting a cool .200 in eight postseason games. They’ve scored just 21 runs (with 12 of those coming in the ninth inning or later); they have a pathetic .265 on-base percentage and an equally pathetic .317 slugging percentage. The Tigers have been better offensively, but not by much. Detroit is batting .254 in eight playoff games with 28 runs scored, a .303 on-base percentage and a .351 slugging percentage.
Conversely, the pitching for both teams has been off-the-charts-good. Detroit’s staff boasts a
1.83 ERA, a 0.99 WHIP and a 74-23 strikeout-to-walk ratio (and this includes two horrific outings by Valverde), while New York chimes in with a 2.25 ERA, a 1.03 WHIP and a 64-18 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Tonight’s pitching matchup—CC Sabathia vs. Max Scherzer—leads you to believe there will be more scoring at a Detroit-area convent today than at Comerica Park. Sabathia has been spectacular over the last month, going 4-0 with a 1.51 ERA in five starts (seven runs allowed in 41 2/3 innings) with 44 strikeouts and seven walks, pitching at least eight innings in all five games. Scherzer has been just as good as Sabathia but over a longer run, giving up just 11 earned runs in his last 11 starts covering 65 1/3 innings (1.52 ERA).
The under is 6-1 in New York’s last seven playoff games (the only exception being the Valverde implosion in Game 1) and 8-2-2 in Detroit’s last 12 games dating to the end of the regular season.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆
Friday’s Result: Cardinals (+120) at Nationals (Win)