Leon Halip

Tigers crush Yankees, sweep into World Series

The Tigers swept the ALCS over the Yankees as Max Scherzer dominated the Yankees through six innings before handing off to the Tigers bullpen. Detroit's offense blasted four home runs: two by Jhonny Peralta and one each from Miguel Cabrera and Austin Jackson.

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Tigers sweep their way to 11th pennant

Thursday in Detroit, the Tigers finished off the New York Yankees, who were swept for the first time in a postseason series since 1980.

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Tigers in 9th, close to A.L. pennant ...

... and Brian Cashman is not amused.

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Austin Jackson homers, Tigers six outs away

Octavio Dotel used to be a Yankee. Which isn't surprising because it is literally quicker to name the teams he hasn't played for. Literally! Dotel has been quite good over his career, and it's almost as if his control is improving, but his strikeout prowess is remaining constant. I can't wait to see what World Series team he'll be with next year.

The first batter Dotel faced, though, walked. While a five-run rally still seemed unlikely, putting a runner on for free seemed like a bad idea. And it was unlike Dotel.

Dotel struck out the next two hitters, though, and he retired Eduardo Nunez on a fly out. Crisis averted.

The Yankees countered with human white flag, Derek Lowe. That didn't go as well:


That was the second pitch Lowe threw, and Austin Jackson sent it a long way. The Tigers are up 7-1 now heading into the top of the eighth.

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Yankees get a hit, are on the board, but still 6-1

Okay, sports fans. Let's not get too excited about this one.

Yes, it's been a long time since the New York Yankees have been swept in a postseason series.

Yes, the New York Yankees are about to get swept in the postseason series.

But no, Max Scherzer isn't going to throw a no-hitter. Eduardo Nuñez, who came up with a huge home run in Game 3, broke Scherzer's spell on the first pitch of the sixth inning:

Nunez3b

In truth, Scherzer wasn't going to throw a no-hitter in Game 4 anyway. No pitcher has thrown a no-hitter against the Yankees since 1958, and it wasn't going to happen today because Scherzer entered the sixth inning having already thrown 84 pitches.

That's one thing about Scherzer: even at his best, he throws lots of pitches.

With Nuñez on third, Scherzer struck out Ichiro Suzuki for this 10th K in the game. But Nick Swisher, who's been so ineffective in so many postseason games for so long, picked on a 2-and-0 fastball and lashed a double to the wall in right-center field.

Scherzer got Robinson Canó on a grounder -- everybody these days gets Robinson Canó on grounders -- but when he walked Mark Teixeira on five pitches, that was it: after 5⅔ innings and 96 pitches, Scherzer walked to the dugout while the sellout crowd stood and applauded.

With Raúl Ibañez due up, Jim Leyland called upon left-hander Drew Smyly ... and Joe Girardi did what he didn't do in Game 2: replace Ibañez with Alex Rodriguez.

This was One of Those Moments. An out, and nobody would remember. But if Alex Rodriguez could hit a three-run homer and get the Yankees back into the game with one swing. Well, that--

Well, that didn't happen. He fell behind 0-and-2, then lifted an easy fly to center field.

So the Yankees got Max Scherzer out of the game, but they'll need a lot more than one run. If they don't score at least five more runs, their season will end after three more innings.

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Cabrera, Peralta murder baseballs, Tigers up 6-0

Has anyone considered that Miguel Cabrera might have a shot at the MVP? Seems like that would make good column-fodder. I'll write myself a little note. But in the ALDS, Cabrera didn't do much against the Oakland A's. He's hit much better in the ALCS -- hitting .364 with a .500 on-base percentage coming into Game 4. But he had only one extra-base hit in the series.


Until that. Goodness. That came after an Omar Infante single, and it put the Tigers up 4-0. Delmon Young followed with a single because he's good now, and that brought up Jhonny Peralta:


That'd be 6-0 for the Tigers, but it didn't chase CC Sabathia. That happened on the next pitch when the magnificently coiffed Andy Dirks roped a double. Sabathia left the game after 3⅔, allowing 11 hits, two walks, and two homers.

Max Scherzer hasn't allowed a hit through four innings. So, uh ...

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Tigers up 2-0 in 4th thanks to Teixeira's error

Don't worry, we're unlimbering all our cute little stories about how long it's been since the New York Yankees have been swept in a postseason series.

Please, don't worry. But we're going to hold off

Max Scherzer, of course, is cruising in Game 4; as Grant Brisbee pointed out just a half-inning ago, this is nothing new for Scherzer. But you can't say the same about Yankees ace CC Sabathia. He gave up a run in the first, then got through the second in good order. But the third was a struggle for the big left-hander.

Miguel Cabrera led off and lined out to left field. Prince Fielder drove a single past first baseman Mark Teixeira. Delmon Young walked (yes: walked, which might suggest just now much fear Delmon Young has lately put into the hearts of enemy pitchers). Jhonny Peralta drove Ichiro to the warning track with a fly ball for out number two. And then Andy Dirks hit what looked like a routine grounder to Teixeira.

But the ball took a big hop and Teixeira couldn't make a play and suddenly the bases were loaded for Avisail García. Sabathia got ahead in the count, but eventually García pounded a grounder up the middle. Sabathia, as big as he is, couldn't quite snag the ball. And fill-in shortstop Eduardo Nunez couldn't do anything, either.

In fact, Nuñez did less than anything, skipping an 11-hop throw to first base:

Throwlol

Hey, at least he kept the ball in the infield, which did save a run. And Sabathia did finally escape the inning when, with the bullpen stirring, Gerald Laird flied out to right field.

With three innings in the book, it's now Tigers 2, Yankees 0. And so the Bombers' collective slump continues...

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Max Scherzer: second-best pitcher on the planet

At least, it seems like he should be every time I watch him pitch. He has the fastball. He has the breaking ball. He has the change. He can command it all. But he's never had that breakout season that he was supposed to for the last five years.

Or did he? Here's Max Scherzer in the second half of the season:

ISplitERAIPHHRBBSO
2nd Half 2.69 90.1 77 8 27 110


There you go. That's the Scherzer we've been waiting for for the last several seasons. He allowed half as many home runs as he did in the first half, and the batting average on balls in play went from .355 before the All-Star break to .317 after.

Or maybe it's just a small sample, and Scherzer is the pitcher he was for the three halves before that.

All I know is that when he's on, he sure looks like the second-best pitcher on the planet (read: second-best pitcher on his team), and he's on through the first three innings of Game 4. Nary a hit, nary a walk, and four strikeouts his first trip through the order.

He would have had a perfect first three innings if it weren't for a Prince Fielder error with two outs. After the error, Scherzer walked Ichiro on a close 3-2 pitch, but he struck out Nick Swisher to end the threat.

The one blemish: Scherzer has thrown 55 pitches through three innings, though 13 of those are on Fielder's hands.

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Tigers up 1-0 in 1st on Delmon YOung's single

So much for CC Sabathia curing everything that's ailed the Yankees. He didn't pitch poorly in the first inning, but the Tigers got a couple of breaks and capitalized, as they so often have, when Delmon "Mr. RBI" Young drove a two-out single into right field to plate Omar Infante with Game 4's first run.

In the top of the first inning, the Yankees, as usual, were retired in order by the enemy starting pitcher; this time, it was Max Scherzer.

Austin Jackson led off the bottom of the first, and popped out. Next up, Infante hit what looked like a routine grounder to third baseman Eric Chavez. But somehow Infante beat Chavez's throw by a nose. Sabathia retired Miguel Cabrera on a routine fly to left field, but Prince Fielder followed with soft liner to left field that moved Infante to third base. And that brought up Young, who drove Sabathia's first pitch into right field to give the Tigers an early lead.

Sabathia struck out Jhonny Peralta to end the rally. Delmon Young now ranks second on the Tigers' all-time postseason RBI list, with 14. Here's how he did it:

Tigerbi

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Yanks/Tigers Game 4: Updated time and TV schedule

Game 4 was originally scheduled for Wednesday night, but was postponed due to rain. The Detroit Tigers will now try to cap their series sweep of the New York Yankees on Thursday afternoon.

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Game 4 of ALCS delayed by rain

Game 4 of the ALCS between the Tigers and Yankees was scheduled to start at 8 p.m. ET, but it has been delayed due to weather conditions in the area.

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