We had a nice little burst of Yankees rage this morning, with writers who blamed everyone (A-Rod) for everything they could think of, never once acknowledging that (a) the Yankees, on the whole, out-pitched and out-hit the Tigers in the series; but (b) sometimes the ball just bounces the wrong way for you and anything can happen in a five game series.
Larry Koestler of The Yankee Analysts, however, supplies us with a healthy dose of sanity this morning, putting the Tigers victory over the Yankees in reasonable perspective. He notes that A-Rod was likely still feeling the effects of his nagging injuries, and notes that the numbers bear that out. He notes that A-Rod wasn’t the only hitter who stunk up the joint. He also takes the seemingly crazy position that, hey, the Tigers actually won this series, it wasn’t simply a matter of the Yankees losing it. Credit Max Scherzer and the Tigers’ pen for (mostly) limiting the damage and preventing those big Yankees innings we all assumed would happen last night.
This may be less satisfying for all of you than blaming A-Rod. It does, however, have the added benefit of being true.
Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, Justin Verlander was named the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.
“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”
Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.
The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.