DETROIT (WKZO) -- Before game 3 at Comerica Park there were those in the media wondering why Yankees Manager Joe Girardi refused to move C.C. Sabathia up to start game 3 instead of game 4. After the Tigers took a 3-0 lead in the American League Championship Series there are many more left wondering…what might have been had Girardi reversed course and let Sabathia go blow-for-blow with Justin Verlander.
The decision is now in the past. Girardi must rely on his ace to keep the Yankees fading hopes of another World Series alive. Sabathia has been lights out in the postseason allowing only 3 earned runs on 12 hits in nearly 2 complete games. (Sabathia left Sundays game 5 showdown with Baltimore with only a single out remaining for victory.)
He hasn’t exactly been as hot as Justin Verlander…but the Tigers are up against one of the best pitchers in baseball as they attempt to secure the pennant for the first time since they took down the Oakland Athletics in 2006.
What needs to happen Thursday afternoon?
The Tigers bats need to wake up with runners in scoring position. Tuesday night it was far closer than it should have been in the 9th inning and its becoming more and more clear that without a closer the Tigers are going to need a comfortable lead heading into the 9th in order to ensure a championship.
Should Avisail Garcia be playing more?
Garcia is the single biggest surprise of the postseason so far for the Tigers. (Minus how terrible Jose Valverde has been this postseason) It may be time to consider taking advantage of having him in the lineup a little more often to start. He has been one of the only Tigers with key hits with runners in scoring position. We may be watching the next great Tigers star and he has only been allowed to have a legal drink since June.
Can the Tigers beat Sabathia and sweep the series this afternoon?
It’s a looming question and one has to wonder how much the Tigers want to end the series Thursday afternoon. A victory over Sabathia would guarantee rest and healing time before the beginning of the World Series and would ensure that the Tigers would have Justin Verlander available for game 1 against either San Francisco or St. Louis.
If it’s going to happen the Tigers bats need to come alive and be particularly clutch. When there is a runner on 2nd with less than 2 outs they simply must get the runner home. This will not be a 7-6 ballgame so every run will be worth 2 with Sabathia on the mound.
If they can knock in runs in the clutch and Scherzer holds serve the Tigers may be looking at a sweep…if they continue to leave runners on and Sabathia is on the hill…this could be a long afternoon for the Tigers.
Prediction: Sabathia pitches well and the Tigers fall 3-1 before winning game 5 Friday.