New York Yankees vs. Detroit Tigers: Team Grades from ALCS Game 4
The Yankees were not able to get more than bits and pieces going in the hitting game, and the Tigers bats came alive as they hit multiple home runs off both the Yankee bullpen and ace CC Sabathia.
The grades for each team in game four may be obvious on the surface, but one can't just look at the numbers—their play has to be looked at as well.
Max Scherzer, in short, was dominant. In fact, he had better stuff and a nicer game than Justin Verlander did in Game 3 despite working fewer innings and slowing down late. He struck out 10 and only allowed one run on two hits through 5.2 innings.
CC Sabathia, on the other hand, struggled. He only lasted 3.2 innings, and allowed 11 hits and six runs, five earned. He never really got it going; it looked like the Tigers had him figured out from the start.
Drew Smyly, Octavio Dotel and Phil Coke were great for the Tigers bullpen, while New York's bullpen was simply not as bad as Sabathia.
Even so, the Tigers had an answer for nearly everyone.
Grades: Tigers A, Yankees D; Cody Eppley's commendable outing and relief of Sabathia prevents the F.
The Tigers offense got going early and often. Aside from the eight runs, they had 16 hits and four home runs, two by Jhonny Peralta. The only Tiger not to get a hit was catcher Gerald Laird.
The Yankees offense failed to get out of their series-long rut. A triple by Eduardo Nunez and a double by Nick Swisher scored a run, but those were the only two Yankee hits all game.
Had Max Scherzer not been at 84 pitches after five innings, a no-hitter would not have been out of the question.
Grades: A+ for Tigers, F for Yankees
With the game as lopsided as it was, managerial decisions did not change much. That being said, there were quite a few modifications that could have greatly changed the game had they not taken place.
Jim Leyland pulled Scherzer right after his first run allowed, and while I'm sure he would have liked to remain in the game, he was at 98 pitches and was the right move to make. I wouldn't have minded seeing Jose Valverde get another shot, but I understand why Leyland didn't put him in.
Joe Girardi, despite the terrible Yankees performance, was not all that bad. Some may question pinch-hitting Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson, but Raul Ibanez and Russell Martin failed to get any hits, so why not put them in.
The Yankees 'pen was somewhat overused again. Five different arms lasted no more than an inning, but then again the bullpen has not been the problem, it's the hitting. Girardi cannot make them magically hit.
Grades: Leyland A, Girardi C+
Plain and simple, the Tigers outplayed the Yankees in this one, just like the rest of the series.
The only thing the Tigers have to worry about now is keeping their team in shape. It looks to be a long wait before the NLCS is done, and one thing Detroit can't afford is a loss in momentum.
Final Grades: Tigers A, Yankees D
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