The New York Yankees need some help on the offensive end, and they need it now. After another depressing performance in the batter's box during Game 2 of the ALCS, the Bombers find themselves down 0-2 with the prospect of facing Detroit Tigers ace, Justin Verlander.
Clearly there are some guys on this team who are hitting, and some who simply aren't. It's time for Manager Joe Girardi to take some steps to help fix this ailing offense.
Let's take a look at what the Yanks could do to bolster their lineup for Game 3 of the ALCS.
1. Ichiro Suzuki: LF
Ichiro has been hot in these playoffs and there's no reason to move him from the top of the order now.
Combined with his ability to handle the bat, speed and defensive prowess in the outfield, Suzuki is the best table-setter the Yanks have by far on this roster. Now all that's left is to find someone to hit behind him that can actually make contact.
2. Eduardo Nunez: DH
We are at that point in the baseball season where there are about two weeks left, and the field has been narrowed down to the best 4 teams in the League. Welcome to the Championship Series. Today we are going to breakdown the National League Championship Series, which pits the St. Louis Cardinals versus the San Francisco Giants.
This matchup has a ton of great storylines, it pretty much writes itself. (Thank you baseball Gods) On the surface, you have a matchup between the last two World Series Champions. Both teams made improbable runs in their respective Championship seasons, and both defeated the Texas Rangers in the World Series.
This year’s Cardinals are managed by first year Manager Mike Matheny, who made a name for himself playing five seasons with the Cardinals in the early 2000s. Matheny then went on to play for the Giants in 2005, where he won a gold glove and the Willie Mac Award, a team award given out to the player who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership shown by Willie McCovey in his day.
Washington fans can protest all they like about the final, depressing minutes of their baseball team’s previously magical season crumbling in a 9-7 loss in Game 5 of the National League Division Series Friday night in the nation’s capital. They can point to how home plate ump Alfonso Marquez was a little tight about reliever Drew Storen’s offerings, to how St. Louis wasn’t in the same class all season long, to how it just didn’t seem right.
Truth is, the Nationals fell for the same reason most others do in similar, stressful situations. Being under duress and feeling the pressure, they caved – big time.
It happens. Deal with it.
Storen wasn’t squeezed. The guy couldn’t even find the guts to throw the ball on the inside half of the plate. Every pitch was outside, outside, outside, as he tried to paint the black away from the batter. He pitched, well, scared, as if he felt doom loomed.
Call it the “Schill Factor.”
Like him or loathe him, for personal or professional reasons or anything in between, the one thing anyone could count on with Curt Schilling was, in a single-game situation, when a team needed a win, he was THE guy. Postseason or regular season, didn’t matter, he had the goods, the juice, the determination to get it done.
People remember the bloody sock game with Boston. But, honestly, that was old hat for Schill. He had been clutch in crucial situations for more than a decade by that time, whether doing his thing under the white-hot glare of the World Series with Arizona or merely stopping a losing streak in front of a few fans for some pretty lousy Phillies squads.
Whatever it was, whatever it is, Schill had “it” when things mattered.
Now, apparently, Detroit right-hander Justin Verlander has added “it” to his repertoire as well.
Already the most dominant pitcher in the majors, courtesy of an ultra-competitive streak and unbelievable skill that includes heat that hovers around triple digits when he wants it to, Verlander has taken his game, and his image, to new levels in just one week of the 2012 playoffs.
Magic, skill, or luck? Destiny, a fluke, or divine intervention? There are quite a few played out terms that can be used to describe the result of the National League Divisional Series between the Reds and the Giants. I’ll go with “historic comeback of epic proportions.”
The Reds took the first two games of the series in San Francisco. Not only did the Reds win the two games and take a 2-0 advantage going back home to Cincinnati for 3 games, they won handily. The Giants only managed to scrape across two runs in the two games. The Giants left San Francisco more disheveled than Brian Wilson’s beard. Their offense was so bad that the Reds’ starters looked like Cy Young-caliber pitchers.