As Game 3 Begins, Yanks Are Very Much Alive in ALCS

October 16, 2012 – The Yankees will take on the Detroit Tigers tonight at chilly Comerica Park in downtown Detroit. When I arrived at the ballpark at about 4 pm, the sun was out, and the temperature was in the mid-’50s. Since then, night has fallen and the air has gotten significantly colder. As the game approaches, it’s 50 degrees in the Motor City.

As the whole baseball world is aware of, the Yankees have their work cut out for them tonight and for as long as the ALCS is being played.

The Tigers have a two games to none series lead, and they are set to play three straight games on their home turf. Of course, Detroit will also be sending the most dominant pitcher in the game over the last few years to the hill tonight in Justin Verlander. The Tigers lead, their home field advantage and the presence of Verlander are three factors that can not be discounted, but the Yankees are confident that they can come back in the series, and I feel that they have good reason to believe in themselves.

For starters, tonight’s Yankees pitcher, Phil Hughes, may be over shadowed by Verlander, but he is a bone fide winner. Hughes has already taken the ball this postseason, and he proved (for the second time in this career) that he can come up big in the biggest games. Hughes only gave up one run in 6 2/3 innings against Baltimore after winning 16 games in the regular season.

CC Sabathia’s words about Hughes in this afternoon’s press conference at Comerica Field cemented my belief that the Yankees have a great chance to win tonight’s game.

“Phil has matured this season,” Sabathia said. “He’s not just going out and throwing the ball. He definitely has a plan, and he’s hitting spots. He’s worked his slider in there over the last six or seven starts, and he’s been able to make adjustments.”

Secondly, while Verlander has the potential to shut down the opposition on any given night, he has also been very beatable in October. His career postseason record is 5-3, and he owns a 4.19 ERA.

The Yankees will throw a guy at the Tigers tomorrow night who has been one of the best postseason pitchers of the decade. If Sabathia has a chance to bring the series even, I believe he will.

But, for now, the Yankees must beat Verlander.

–Alfred Santasiere III

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