When your starting pitcher has a perfect game through five innings, you’re usually going to win the game. I say “usually” because if your offense is the Yankees offense in the postseason then those are the games you’re going to lose when your starting pitcher is throwing a perfect game through five innings.
There’s not much to say about Game 2. The Yankees can’t score. I said going into the postseason that the Yankees would get great pitching, but that it would be up to A-Rod, Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher to produce. And the Yankees have gotten great starting pitching and have the best rotation in the postseason, but A-Rod, Teixeira and Swisher have been their usual October selves. When I made that statement before the postseason, I didn’t factor in how bad Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson would be as well, and that’s why the Yankees are in the worst possible position heading into Game 3.
Hiroki Kuroda took the mound on short on rest for the first time in his career. He earned a no-decision against the Orioles four days before despite going 8 1/3 innings and allowing two earned runs on five hits, and on Sunday, Kuroda was even better. The Yankees’ best starter in the regular season went 7 2/3 innings against the Tigers, allowing three earned runs on five hits while striking out a career-high 11. Kuroda tried to put the team on his back, but no one got on.
The Yankees recoreded just three hits off of Anibal Sanchez in seven innings and one off of Phil Coke (who is in the Josh Beckett tier of hate for me) in two innings. Robinson Cano set the Yankees record for most consecutive at-bats without a hit in the postseason with an 0-for-4, A-Rod and Nick Swisher each struck out two more times and Curtis Granderson, to no surprise, struck out three times.
Saturday night had the same feeling of an elimination game once Derek Jeter went down for the season and Game 2 only helped to justify that feeling. Now the Yankees are sitting in an 0-2 hole with Justin Verlander waiting in Game 3. Let’s hope the NHL and NHLPA settle the lockout this week.
This train carries Phil Hughes in Game 3.