It took five games, but the Yankees were able to get the best of the Orioles. After watching Justin Verlander throw a gem last night, CC Sabathia delivered a gem of his own tonight. The big man was electric, dominating both sides of the plate while getting ahead of hitters with first-pitch strikes. CC is the definition of an ace and has earned every penny of his massive contract. 

The Yankees had their moments offensively, but Curtis Granderson’s seventh-inning home run sealed the deal. Granderson really, really struggled during the first four games of the series, but gave the Yankees a big boost when they needed it.

A few take-aways from the ALDS:

  • I was/still am 100 percent against benching A-Rod. He’s struggling and his at-bats are futile, but as we saw with Granderson, one swing can change everything. Baseball is all about confidence and I find it troubling that Girardi sat him. I don’t think A-Rod is hurt nor do I think he should be hitting third in the order. However, he plays great defense and can still get on base. One big swing may change his post-season, but that can only happen if he’s in the lineup. All four of Detriot’s pitchers are right-handed, but we can’t expect Girardi to start Chavez in each game. I hope/fully expect A-Rod to be in the starting lineup tomorrow night.
  • Yankee Starting Pitchers were dominant. Over the course of five games, the starters threw 38 innings and gave way to only nine earned runs! In addition, the Yankee bullpen was great and gave the offense additional innings to score run(s) (Cite: Mr. Ibanez)
  • Nick Swisher is terrible. I’m getting sick of Swisher. Fans love him because he’s a ‘happy-go-lucky’ type of guy, but this is the playoffs and he just sucks. Swisher was just 2-for-18 with five strikeouts. During his post-season career, Swisher is 23-for-139 (.165) which may be the worst batting average among players with 100+ at-bats. Since Gardner can’t swing a bat and Ibanez can’t run, Swisher is the de-facto starting right fielder. In the playoffs, it’s impossible to hide hitters, but I’ve learned to not expect anything from Swishalicious. In a month, he’ll be suiting up for Kenny’s New York Mets!
  • Will Joe add Andruw Jones? Given Swisher’s struggles and Joba’s injury, does Joe add Andruw Jones to his ALCS roster? Detriot’s starters are all right-handed and Jones has been futile against righties this season (.185/.293/.400). However, Swisher has been so bad that he has to at least consider it.
  • Still waiting for Soriano. Rafael Soriano didn’t have a big pressure-packed moment in the ALDS. Soriano’s counter-part, Jim Johnson was involved in almost every contest. Soriano was able to keep games tied, but did not have a pressure-packed save opportunity. With that being said, I’m sure Soriano will have that opportunity against the Tigers. We’ve seen closer after closer crumble in October, but we don’t know how Soriano will fare. Since Yankee fans are so used to ninth inning, post-season dominance, anything less will be a massive disappointment.
  • Congrats to the Orioles. No one expected anything from the O’s this season. However, they battled the Yankees for 23 games this season. The Yankees were able to get the better of them, but the future of the team is very, very bright.

Since both the Yankees and Tigers just used their aces, we’ll see #2 pitchers square off tomorrow night. Andy The Dandy vs. Doug Fister. Fortunately for the Yankees, a meeting with Justin Verlander won’t happen until Game 3. The downside? No CC until Game 4. Aces are wild, but these two will not meet unless there is a Game 7.