I don’t know if it makes me overly pessimistic after only watching 1 game of this series so far, or realistic because of how bad the Yankee offense looked in Game 2, but I admittedly have little faith in this team tonight. The manner in which they carried themselves on Sunday, more than the negative results they produced, was very disconcerting and signaled a dying team. There was no energy, no emotion, no life from a team playing an incredibly important home playoff game, and that doesn’t bode well for the Yankees in the rest of this series. Now the half-empty, boo-filled Yankee Stadium didn’t help matters at all, so maybe a change of scenery will help guys relax, but relaxed or not, facing Justin Verlander tonight is going to be a tough task. Yes, the Yankees have hit him before, but they’ve done that when they’re healthier and swinging the bats much better than they are right now. With the way they’re not hitting and the way Verlander is pitching, a complete game shutout seems like a very realistic possibility tonight.
In the most literal definition, tonight is not a do-or-die game. If the Yankees lose, they still have a chance to run the table and win this series in 7 games. But realistically, a Yankee loss tonight pretty much seals this deal up and in all likelihood ensures that this series doesn’t make it back to New York. If the struggling hitters have just been waiting to make their adjustments at the plate, tonight would be the night to do it.
Updated Starting Lineups (4:20PM)-
NYY: 1) Gardner- LF, 2) Ichiro- RF, 3) Teix- 1B, 4) Cano- 2B, 5) Ibanez- DH, 6) Martin- C, 7) Chavez- 3B, 8) C-Grand- CF, 9) Nunez- SS
DET: 1) Jackson- CF, 2) Berry- LF, 3) Cabrera- 3B, 4) Fielder- 1B, 5) Young- DH, 6) Dirks- RF, 7) Peralta- SS, 8) Avila- C, 9) Infante- 2B
Phil Hughes (6.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 8 K in 1 postseason start) vs. Justin Verlander ( 16 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 5 BB, 22 K in 2 postseason starts)
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