New York Yankees: Why ALCS Game 2 vs. Detroit Tigers Is a Must Win
They came close to pulling off another October miracle.
Yet, not only did they lose 6-4 to the Tigers on Saturday night, they might have suffered an even bigger loss for the remainder of the playoffs.
In the top of the 12th inning, with the Yankees trailing 5-4, Detroit's Jhonny Peralta hit a ball towards Derek Jeter, and, as he went to go field it, Jeter tumbled to the ground in pain, unable to get back up. Jeter had to be helped off the field, and it was announced right after Game 1 that he has a fractured ankle and will miss the rest of the playoffs. (via hardballtalk.nbcsports.com)
After being taken off the postseason roster, Eduardo Nunez will likely be called back up to take over the reins at shortstop.
The Yankees rallied in the ninth inning with a two-run home run by Ichiro Suzuki to cut the deficit to 4-2. The Yankees' newest postseason hero, Raul Ibanez, hit another clutch home run, this time a two-run bomb off Jose Valverde, which tied the game at 4-4.
But the Yankees were never able to get the winning run, and Detroit eventually recovered from the Yankee rally to take the lead in the 12th.
After a tough Game 1 defeat, Hiroki Kuroda will take the ball pitching on short rest and attempt to tie the series in Game 2. The Tigers will counter with Anibal Sanchez. On Sunday afternoon, the Yankees are playing in a must-win game and cannot fall behind 0-2 in the ALCS to the Tigers.
It's not always fair to label a game this early in a series as a "must-win". But on Sunday, the Yankees are playing in one. The Yankees absolutely cannot fall behind 0-2 with Justin Verlander waiting in the wings as the series shifts to Detroit for Games 3-5.
Verlander is already 2-0 with an 0.56 ERA in the 2012 playoffs, and with New York already struggling to score runs, Verlander may feast on the Yankees lineup.
I expect the Tigers to win Game 3 with Verlander pitching in front of his home crowd on Tuesday night. If the Yankees do lose Game 2, they are staring in the face of an 0-3 series deficit.
With the loss of Jeter due to the injury, plus the struggles of Robinson Cano, Nick Swisher and Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees will have no chance if they fall that far behind to Detroit.
With that much riding on Game 2, Kuroda will be pitching with added pressure. But he's been the Yankees most consistent pitcher all season long and can be expected to give the Bombers another gritty performance.
He needs to.
All eyes will be on the Bronx Sunday afternoon to see if the Yankees can figure out a way to win Game 2 and not head back to the Motor City in a really big hole.
Stay tuned, Yankees Universe.
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