Raul Ibanez provided another dose of postseason heroics for the Yankees on Saturday evening in Game 1 of the ALCS, but it didn’t matter in the end.
The Tigers rallied after Jose Valverde’s ugly ninth-inning blowup, tacking on two runs in the top of the 12th inning in an eventual 6-4 victory in The Bronx.
Delmon Young finished 3-for-6 with a home run, a double and three RBI, Austin Jackson had a triple, a double and a run scored, and starter Doug Fister tossed 6 1/3 innings of scoreless ball as Detroit grabbed a 1-0 lead in this best-of-seven clash.
The Yankees not only failed to capitalize on what was a rousing comeback but now face a dire set of circumstances going forward in this series. Derek Jeter is done for the playoffs with a fractured left ankle and Hiroki Kuroda will be pitching on short rest in Game 2. If the Yankees can’t pull out a victory on Sunday evening, they’ll be down two games heading into Detroit, where Justin Verlander will take the ball in Game 3.
Anything can happen — as we’ve seen time and time again in this crazy sport, especially in this particular postseason — but the situation certainly looks pretty grim right now for the fellas in pinstripes.
Yankees first baseman Greg Bird gave his team tons of confidence to hand him the everyday job at first base to start the 2017 regular season, batting .451/.556/1.098 with eight home runs in 51 spring at-bats. But he’s followed that up by hitting .107/.254/.214 through the first month of the regular season.
GM Brian Cashman doesn’t have any intent to demote Bird back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Cashman said, “It’s not even an option for me in my mind right now, at all.”
Bird didn’t start Sunday’s game against the Orioles, a 7-4 loss in 11 innings. Lefty Wade Miley started for the Orioles, prompting manager Joe Girardi to put Chris Carter into the lineup at first base. If Bird isn’t able to figure things out, Carter might have an increased role on the team.
Rays starter Chris Archer threw his first pitch to Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista behind the slugger’s back with one out in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Toronto. Bautista and Archer then had a staredown. Home plate umpire Jim Wolf issued warnings to both teams. Bautista ultimately flied out to right field and he appeared to have a quick word with Archer on his way back to the dugout.
Archer could have been exacting revenge — euphemistically known as “protecting his teammate” — because Jays reliever Joe Biagini hit Rays outfielder Steven Souza in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game. Souza was forced to leave the game and underwent an X-ray, which came back negative. He was held out of Sunday’s lineup. Biagini’s pitch did not appear to be intentional.
The Jays won Sunday’s contest 3-1 with no further incident. The two clubs meet again in Tampa for a three-game series starting on May 5, so we’ll see if Sunday was the last of the bad blood between them.