Coming into the series, it seemed the middle of the order would have to hit for the Yanks to win. ARod, Tex & Swish have not done well but they have been picked up by the bottom of the order. The 7, 8 & 9 hitters have gotten on base more than anyone on the team. Posada is 4 for 10 with 4 walks for a team best .600 OBP. Russell Martin has just 3 singles but he’s added 2 walks & 2 HBPs for a .413 OBP and #9 hitter Brett Gardner has had perhaps the best series of anyone besides Cano. Gardner is 5 for 13 with 5 RBI and 2 very clutch 2-strike, 2 RBI hits.
Fister vs Yankees Offense
Tonight’s pitcher Doug Fister was effective against the Yanks for the first 4 innings in Game 1. He worked fast and was aggressive in the strike zone, attacking with all of his pitches. After Posada’s early baserunning gaffe, Fister settled in and retired 11 hitters in order with 5 Ks. I started to have flashbacks of Cliff Lee in previous postseasons but they eventually got some clutch hits and knocked him out.
Fister did a good job of tying up the RH batters with his Fastball running down and in. This was very effective so Jeter, ARod & Martin need to lay off that pitch and make Fister get something out over the plate. Jeter has alternated looking terrible at the plate and looking great in this series (5 for 19 with 7 Ks) but had a lot of problems with that Fister 2-seamer. ARod looked like he may have finally found his stroke in game 4 looking much more comfortable and getting his first 2 hits of the series (2 for 14). If Fister leaves something over the plate, Alex could make him pay and the crowd will erupt. Martin was the sole righty to have a good Ab against Fister with a 2B in the 2nd inning but he is very susceptible to the double play against Fister and needs to wait for a pitch up and over the plate.
The LH batters hit Fister well as Tex and Cano both took his low and away fastball the other way for doubles. The Yankee lefties need to take this approach again. Look to go the other way with that fastball running away and if he leaves it over the plate turn on it. If they try to pull his 2-seamer low and away there will be a lot of 4-3 groundouts. It will also be interesting to see if the home plate umps continue to give the Detroit RHPs 3-5 inches off the outside corner.
The Yanks need to continue to be aggressive since Fister attacks with a lot of strikes. Look for anything up and over the plate to rip. I’m hoping they can knock Fister out early enough to get Leyland to go with one of his lefties because I really like our matchups against them not to mention it gets my man Jesus Montero into the game (2 for 2 with RBI in Game 4). I’d expect to see Scherzer and Benoit pitch from the 6th inning one so I’d like to come out hitting against Fister. Not that Scherzer & Benoit are unhittable but I think they are the 2 toughest pitchers for the Yanks to match up with besides Verlander.
Nova vs. Detroit Offense
From a pitching point of view, Nova needs to do exactly what he did in Game 1. Get ahead in the count, mix his pitches, stand tall and throw on a nice downward plane. And DO NOT LET MIGUEL CABRERA beat you. The key is getting the 3 hitters in front of him out. Austin Jackson can easily be pitched to and cannot be walked. Delmon Young looks for fastballs middle out to drive the other way so don’t put anything in that wheel house. Cabrera needs to be pitched around and contained as much as possible. Attack him with no runners on but be very careful if runners are on base. Victor Martinez is a great hitter behind him but not nearly as dangerous as Miguel.
Nova doesn’t need to throw a complete game as the Yanks have a well rested and able bullpen to back him up. Robertson and Mo can definitely get 9 outs between them and Soriano, Logan and maybe even C.C. can be used to matchup in the 6th inning or whenever needed. So with Robertson ready to start the 7th, Nova needs to go all out knowing he only needs to go 5-6 innings before handing the baton to the best 1-2 bullpen punch in the A.L.
Hope to see a lot of Cano's shit-eating grin tonight
Both teams will score some runs early and it will come down to a battle of bullpens. Granderson & Cano will hit well and at some point Cano will be pitched around and ARod will make them pay. Tex or Swish will come up with a big hit at some point as well. Yankees pen will out pitch Detroit’s pen and Yanks win 7-4.
LET’S HEAR YOUR PREDICTIONS AND PLAYER OF THE GAME.