Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees: Team Grades from ALCS Game 2
After watching an exciting finish to last night's game, the baseball world gets a quick turnaround in the Big Apple, as the New York Yankees played host to the Detroit Tigers on Sunday just hours after a heartbreaking 6-4 loss in Game 1 of the ALCS.
Entering the afternoon, it was widely known that the Yankees would have to rely heavily on starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda after the team used up all but one arm in the bullpen on Saturday.
Kuroda would prove to be extremely effective for New York, going 7.2 innings while giving up just four hits and two runs. Still, it wouldn't be enough, as the Yanks would fall to Anibal Sanchez and the Detroit Tigers.
There will be immense pressure on New York, as it heads to Detroit with a 2-0 deficit, but for now, here are some contributing factors to Game 2's 3-0 final.
Both pitchers came out with plenty on the line Sunday afternoon after both teams' bullpens were heavily taxed just hours earlier.
Anibal Sanchez held his own early on, holding the Yankees to three hits in seven innings while not allowing a run.
Hiroki Kuroda was just as good, allowing only five hits and no free passes during his 7.2 innings of work, paving the way to allowing just two earned runs.
Unlike Sanchez's last start against Oakland in the ALDS, he stifled the Yankees' offensive threats and overcame three walks while keeping the Yankees in check before being pulled in favor of Phil Coke after seven innings.
With strong pitching early on, both teams struggled to get going on offense, as neither team capitalized in a way that could've put up a crooked number.
The Tigers came up with a great opportunity to put some runs on the board after a leadoff double from Quentin Berry, and a single by Miguel Cabrera would give Detroit runners on the corners with nobody out.
Unfortunately for the Tigers, they'd come away with only one run, but would head into the seventh-inning stretch with a 1-0 lead.
They would be on the receiving end of a good break in the eighth inning, when a blown call by the second-base umpire kept Omar Infante on the field, allowing him to score just one play later.
With as many weapons as the Yankees have in their lineup, they sure didn't show it in the late innings. They would manage only one hit in the final two innings of a close game.
Keeping the bullpens out of the game would be crucially important for both teams. To both teams' credit, the Yankees were able to get 7.2 innings out of Hiroki Kuroda before giving the ball to Boone Logan.
Logan would face only one batter, giving up a single to Avisail Garcia that would score Omar Infante.
The bleeding wouldn't stop there for New York, as Joba Chamberlain entered the game to face Miguel Cabrera and gave up a single that scored Austin Jackson.
Detroit pulled Anibal Sanchez after the seventh inning, putting the ball in the hands of Phil Coke.
Coke would throw two innings of one-hit baseball to close the door on the Yankees and give the Tigers a 2-0 series lead.
For all the strength that the pitchers showed in the early innings, both sides had fielders to thank for keeping the runs to a minimum.
Keeping errors to a minimum is a key in any game, but mistakes are amplified in postseason action, making solid fielding all that much more crucial to a team's success.
The Tigers had the only error in the game's box score, and while it didn't yield any runs scored, the Yankees' efforts in the field were just as impressive when you keep in mind that the team's captain and leader went down less than a day earlier.
In the end, heroic pitching efforts from both sides would prove to be the theme of this low-scoring affair.
Anibal Sanchez rebounded nicely from an off outing with his seven-inning, three-hit effort, and the bullpen more than held up its end of the bargain, allowing only one hit in the final two innings.
For the Yankees, the lack of offense and ultimate crack by the bullpen ultimately kept the momentum in the hands of the Tigers as they head back to Detroit for Tuesday's Game 3.
Detroit will send ace Justin Verlander to the mound in an effort to inch closer to the team's first World Series appearance since 2006.