Saturday, October 20, 2012

Sweeping the ALCS Was a Team Effort

Delmon Young was impressive during the ALCS, hitting .353/.421/.765/1.186 with 2 HR and 6 RBI.  He is credited for the game-winning RBI in each of the four games and had as many RBI as the entire Yankees team combined.  His contributions earned him ALCS MVP honors.  However, he wasn’t alone in the dominance of the Yankee sweep.

Jhonny Peralta hit .389/.421/.778/1.199 with 2 HR of his own on the final game to help put the final nail on the Yankees’ coffin.  He also contributed on the field, saving some runs in the first couple of games of the series.  In fact, an argument can be made that he was more deserving of the MVP than Delmon Young because of those run saving plays.

Austin Jackson (.353/.421/.706/1.127, 1 HR) and Miguel Cabrera (.313/.421/.563/.984, 1 HR, 4 RBI) were also major contributions to the offense.  Avisail Garcia also came up big, hitting .455/.455/.545/1.000 with 3 RBI while getting 2 big pinch hits in games 2 and 3.  Garcia also got his first Major League extra base hit (the fact that it was a ground rule double prevented him from getting another RBI) and his first ML stolen base.  It was one of the most impressive Tiger rookie performances, even more so given his limited ML experience.  (Useless fact: 3 of his 5 hits were against reliever Boone Logan).

Then there’s the pitching.  After Jose Valverde blew up in the first game, surrendering 2 2-run HR in a 4-0 game in the 9th inning to tie it at 4, Jim Leyland decided to go with a “closer by committee.”  Turns out that committee was just Phil Coke.  After stumbling in the 2nd half of the regular season, many fans were losing faith in Coke, who was now branded as a LOOGY.  Thankfully, the Yankees had many left-handed relievers in their lineup and Coke rose to the challenge, pitching a scoreless inning in Game 1; a 2-inning scoreless save in Game 2; another scoreless save in Game 3; and yet another scoreless 2-inning performance to end Game 4, slamming his glove in iconic fashion after getting the last out. 

Last, but not least, it was the starting rotation that set the tone.  Doug Fister got things started in Game 1, pitching 6 1/3 scoreless innings, weaving out of bases-loaded jams.  Anibal Sanchez followed in Game 2, pitching 7 scoreless innings of his own.  Justin Verlander pitched 8 scoreless innings in Game 3, before surrendering a HR in the 9th inning (ending the streak of a record 37 consecutive innings of starting pitching to give up 0 earned runs in the postseason, going back to the ALDS against the Athletics).  Max Scherzer then pitched 5 2/3 of 1-run ball, taking a no-hitter into the 6th inning and striking out 10 batters.  Altogether, the starting rotation pitched 27 1/3 innings of only 2 ER (0.66 ERA, 0.84 WHIP) with 25 strikeouts.  (The starting rotation has been one of the most dominating pitching staffs in postseason history, only giving up 7 ER in 62 innings for a 1.02 ERA).

So Delmon Young may have gotten the hardware, but there was more than 1 hero in this series.  

1 comment:

  1. A team effort indeed. Strong contributions from players who had been dormant much of the regular season. 'Twas an unexpected pleasure to see Delmon, Jhonny, and Phil at the top of their game.

    Drew and Don had brief but meaningful contributions as well.