NY Yankees vs. Detroit Tigers: New York Players Who Give Yankees Edge in Game 3

Andy LiuCorrespondent IOctober 16, 2012

The Yankees will need their best hitter to break out in order to have a chance in this series.
The Yankees will need their best hitter to break out in order to have a chance in this series.Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

Down 0-2 in the ALCS, the New York Yankees aren't feeling good about their chances. If they want to make this a series, they'll have to win Game 3 against Detroit's Justin Verlander. 

The Yankees know this is their do-or-die game. If they go down 0-3, winning four against this Detroit Tigers pitching staff is damn near impossible—unless they go all Boston Red Sox on them. 

The slumping Alex Rodriguez and Company should also know that if they manage to squeeze out a win they will have CC Sabathia going in Game 4, meaning this series could very well end up being tied going into Game 5. 

First thing's first: There are two key players that will provide an edge for the Yankees in a game where they are heavy underdogs. 


Robinson Cano

The best hitter on a team full of hitters in deep slumps, Cano has hit no different. 

Cano hasn't had a hit since October 8 against the Baltimore Orioles, a span of 24 at-bats. 

Amongst teams that have started more than three games against Justin Verlander in the past three years, the Yankees have hit him the second best, pegging him with a 3.27 ERA. The Yankees also beat him two times out of three already this season alone. 

For a great hitter like Cano, it is only a matter of time before he breaks out and hits like the person who had 33 homers and 48 doubles while posting a career-high .929 OPS in the regular season. 


Ichiro Suzuki

Small sample size alert! 

But right now, the Yankees don't really care.

They'll need all the offense they can muster, and Ichiro Suzuki is the one player who has hit decently in this Detroit series, going 4-10 with a homer. 

It also doesn't hurt that in 55 at-bats against Verlander Suzuki has hit .309 against him with a .333 OBP. 

In a game where runs may be sparse, with Phil Hughes pitching well in his playoff start against the Baltimore Orioles, an extra-base hit or a stolen base may be crucial.

Also, the Yankees lineup may present a better chance for more offense against the shoddy play of the Detroit bullpen. 

Against Jose Valverde in Game 1, the Yankees were able to hit two homers off him, but so far against Detroit starters, they haven't done much. 

Joaquin Benoit has an ERA of 5.52 in the second half of the season. Octavio Dotel is also being used heavily but not effectively, allowing 50 hits in 58 regular-season innings. 

Even without Derek Jeter, the Yankees hold so many good hitters in Cano, Ichiro, Mark Teixeira and even Alex Rodriguez, it's only a matter of time before they break out. 

What better time than against the league's best baseball pitcher in a must-win game in Detroit?