Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez yielded just three hits over seven shutout innings and third baseman Miguel Cabrera went 2-for-4 with an RBI as the Tigers rolled to a far-too-easy 3-0 victory over the Yankees on Sunday evening in Game 2 of the ALCS.
Yankees fans might choose to pout about a blown call at second in the Tigers’ two-run eighth inning and an inconsistent strike zone throughout, but it’s the New York bats that deserve most of the blame.
Robinson Cano finished 0-for-4 and has now gone without a hit in 26 straight at-bats. That’s an all-time postseason record. Alex Rodriguez went 1-for-4 and struck out twice. Jayson Nix, the Yankees’ shortstop-by-default in the wake of Derek Jeter’s season-ending ankle fracture, wound up 0-for-3.
The Tigers will bring a 2-0 series lead back to Comerica Park with Justin Verlander going Tuesday night in Game 3. We’d be foolish to bury a team too early in a seven-game postseason series, but it’s not looking good right now for the Yanks. And staff ace CC Sabathia isn’t slated to take the mound until Game 4.
Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the Diamondbacks and reliever T.J. McFarland have avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $1.45 million salary for the 2019 season. McFarland, in his third of four years of arbitration eligibility, filed for $1.675 million while the Diamondbacks countered at $1.275 million. McFarland ended up settling for just under the midpoint of those two figures.
McFarland, 29, was terrific out of the bullpen for the D-Backs last season, finishing with a 2.00 ERA and a 42/22 K/BB ratio in 72 innings. While the lefty may not miss a lot of bats, he does induce quite a few grounders. His 67.9 percent ground ball rate last season was the third highest among relievers with at least 50 innings, trailing only Brad Ziegler (71.1%) and Scott Alexander (70.6%).
McFarland was dominant against left-handed hitters, limiting them to a .388 OPS last season, but the D-Backs deployed him nearly twice as often against right-handed hitters, who posted an aggregate .764 OPS against him. It will be interesting to see if the club decides to use him more as a platoon reliever in 2019.