Great Effort in Defeat

October 3, 2011 — It’s hard not to admire the Yankees effort in Game 3 of the ALDS.

They were facing a pitcher  in Justin Verlander who was consistently throwing 100 mph fastballs, while mixing in “off-speed” pitches that were hitting 92 mph on the radar gun. I’ve rarely seen pitches break from the press box of any stadium — but it’s was easy to see the movement on Verlander’s breaking ball from high above the field tonight.

From the second inning through the second out in the seventh, Verlander only allowed three singles, two of which were erased by subsequent double plays.

But with two outs in the seventh, Posada worked the count full, and eventually earned a walk. It was a gritty at-bat, and Posada showed his postseason pedegree with each pitch he fouled off or didn’t swing at.

I believe that Posada’s at-bat took some of Verlander’s unflappable concentration, which was evident when the pitcher hit the next batter, Yankees catcher Russell Martin, with a 100 mph fastball.

Posada’s two-out walk was huge. It kept the inning alive long enough for Brett Garnder to hit a game-tying, two-run double, which won’t get nearly as much attention as it should. Gardner’s clutch double against Verlander was as impressive as any hit a Yankee collected this season.

The Yankees battled another tough pitcher in the ninth in Tigers closer Jose Valverde, who converted 49 saves in 49 chances during the regular season.  Posada and Gardner got on base with walks, but that’s where the threat and the game ended.

The Tigers lead the ALDS two games to one, but the Yankees battled from start to finish. I am confident that the Yankees will again work Tigers pitching the way have the entire series. Eventually, they are going to break through. Hopefully that will happen tomorrow night.

–Alfred Santasiere III

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