Sabathia, Yankees Hope To Avoid Detroit Brooms

By: Willie Bee | Wednesday, October 17, 2012

It's been all Detroit so far in the ALCS where the Tigers have a commanding 3-0 lead with their eyes on brooming the New York Yankees out of the playoffs Thursday afternoon after rain postponed Wednesday night's action.

First pitch from Comerica Park will be at 4:05 p.m. (ET) with TBS providing the broadcast.  Max Scherzer will deliver that opening toss for Detroit while CC Sabathia makes his first appearance in the series for New York.  Sabathia and the Yanks are slight $1.15 favorites to avoid being swept, and the MLB odds screen at Don Best is listing seven runs for the total, and shaded to the 'under' with a -120 price.

It has been an easy series so far for the Tigers, thanks mostly to the New York offense being dormant for most of the postseason.

"It has been too easy, and it's because the Yankees aren't scoring any runs," Don Best analyst Bruce Marshall points out.  "That goes back to the Orioles series, too."

New York has plated just five runs the entire ALCS, four of those coming in Game 1, the only 'over' of the series so far.  Anibal Sanchez and Phil Coke combined to blank the Yankees in Game 2 for a 3-0 Tigers victory, and Justin Verlander dominated the pinstripes again in Game 3 on Tuesday, a 2-1 Detroit triumph in which New York didn't score until the ninth inning.

Alex Rodriguez has borne the brunt of the criticism for the Yankees' offensive woes, with the star sitting on the bench in two of New York's eight playoff games before Wednesday.  The third baseman is hitting just .130 (3-for-23), but certainly isn't the only culprit.

Robinson Cano has just three hits in 36 at bats (.083), Curtis Granderson is batting .103 (3-for-29, 1 HR) and Nick Swisher is also in a slump with a .154 average (4-for-26). Adding injury to insult was the ankle injury captain Derek Jeter suffered in Game 1 to end his season.  Jeter was one of the few Yankees who was hitting at the time he went down (.333, 9-for-27).

The silver lining in the cloud according to Marshall is having Sabathia on the hill in Game 4.  The southpaw has won both of his postseason assignments, each coming in the ALDS vs. Baltimore, and closed the regular season by pitching the Yankees into victory lane in his final three starts.

Scherzer's lone postseason start came in Game 4 of the Tigers' ALDS vs. Oakland, and the former Missouri Tiger star responded with 5-1/3 innings while limiting the A's to one unearned run.  Scherzer didn't figure into the decision that ultimately went to Oakland, 4-3, when former Detroit closer Jose Valverde imploded in the ninth inning.

Valverde has since lost his closer's role, and the Tigers bullpen figures to be a key part of Game 4 with Scherzer averaging a little more than four innings over his last four starts.

Should the Yankees win on Thursday and force a Game 5, it will take place Friday in Detroit where Andy Pettitte and Doug Fister are expected to commence the proceedings.

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