The Detroit Tigers beat the New York Yankees 8-1 in game four of their ALCS matchup, sweeping the series four games to none to advance to the World Series.
Before the season, we all expected the Tigers to be in a position reasonably close to this....but the way they got there was totally unexpected. Detroit trailed the White Sox in the AL Central for most of the season before clinching the division on the final weekend of the regular season, and going into the playoffs with the worst record among all five American League teams. They dispatched the AL West champion A's in a hard-fought five games series, and then looked like a juggernaut in sweeping the Yankees in the ALCS without trailing in a game all series. That's just an absurd notation.
As for tonight's game, the Tigers got a fantastic start from Max Scherzer, awesome relief pitching, and their trademark incredible offense. The offense's performance was even more impressive considering that CC Sabathia got the start for the Yankees. Sabathia got shelled, allowing six runs (five earned) over 3 2/3 innings on 11 hits. After picking up single runs in the first and third innings, the Tigers stabbed the Yankees in the heart in the fourth. Miguel Cabrera and Jhonny Peralta both hit two-run homers off of Sabathia to increase Detroit's lead to 6-0, and it was all gravy from there. Detroit added insult to injury late in the game with solo homers from Austin Jackson and Peralta.
On the mound, Scherzer was unstoppable. He only went 5 2/3 innings, but allowed just a single run on two hits. He struck out ten and walked two, and left the game with a five run lead. In relief of Scherzer, Drew Smyly, Octavio Dotel, and Phil Coke threw 3 1/3 no hit innings, walking one and striking out two and stifling any possible chance of a New York comeback.
Despite manager Joe Girardi's lineup tweaks in game four, the New York offense couldn't get started. Every Yankees starter aside from shortstop Eduardo Nunez struck out at least once, including two each for Raul Ibanez (who was eventually pinch hit for by Alex Rodriguez), Eric Chavez (who got the start at third in place of Rodriguez), and Nick Swisher, who drove in the lone Yankees run with a double in the sixth inning. Robinson Cano, Rodriguez, and Curtis Granderson combined to go 2/38 in the series with two walks and no extra base hits.
Delmon Young was named ALCS MVP after batting .353 with a 1.186 OPS, two homers, and six RBI. It's worth noting that Young drove in six runs over the series, and the Yankees *scored* six runs in the series.
The Tigers will now await the winner of the NLCS between the Cardinals and Giants to see who they'll face in the World Series, which will begin next Wednesday in the National League team's home park.
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