The mighty Yankees of 2012 stuck out in their American League Division Series versus the Detroit, losing the series 3 games to 2 to the underdog Tigers. And there are glaring reasons why NY AL became a first-round bounce-out. Here are five reasons, from least important to most important:
5. Ivan Nova. The Yankees' young righthander suffered an injury during his start in Game 5, but he allowed home runs to the Tigers' Don Kelly and Delmon Young in the first inning, to put Detroit up 2-0. In a regular season game, a 2-0 lead isn't much, but in the postseason, with its typically strong pitching staffs, a 2-0 lead is like a 4-0 lead.
4. Jose Valvarde. Aside from Game 2, the Tigers' closer was superb, saving Game 3 and Game 5.
3. Failure to Hit a Fly Ball. In Game 5, the Yanks had two chances to score a run without a hit. With the bases loaded in the 4th and 7th innings, all Russell Martin and Alex Rodriguez had to do was elevate a medium-deep fly ball, and the Yanks would have had two more runs. Martin popped out. Alex struck out.
2. No Clutch Hitting. The Yanks scored 28 runs in the 5-game series and that only underscores how deceptive aggregate stats can be. When the Yanks needed a hit -- (A hit? How about a fly ball? See above.) -- they didn't get one. Alex Rodriguez' strike out in the 7th inning of Game 5 epitomized the series for NY AL. Alex hit .111 in the series (2 for 18). Mark Teixeira hit .167 (3 for 18). Dreadful. When your no. 4 and 5 hitters are below the Mendoza line in a series, you're in trouble.
The Yanks also had 10 hits but only 2 runs in Game 5.
1. Tigers Pitching. Starter Max Scherzer baffled the Yanks in Game 2, and Doug Fister and Scherzer shut down the Yanks in Game 5. In a word, the Tigers pitched very well when the staff had to, and the club deserved to advance to the ALCS.
Congrats to Detroit. For NY AL, you have a lot of work to do.