In what is a rarity in baseball postseason play, game 3 between the Detroit Tigers and the New York Yankees featured a rematch of game 1 starters Justin Verlander and CC Sabathia. Both pitchers game 1 start was postponed after just 1 inning because of rain so they were eager to get on the mound and show their stuff.
Fortunately for the Tigers, Verlander's stuff was electric while Sabathia's was just mildly shocking.
Verlander pitched eight tough innings compared to CC's six and struck out 11 in the process. The outing, and the 5-4 win, was redemption for Verlander. He struggled in Detroit's last playoff run, posting a 5.82 era, and it has gnawed at him ever since.
"This is the first time I've been in this situation and felt good. In 2006 as a rookie, I was pretty fatigued," Verlander said. "I've worked my tail off since then, and I feel like every year I've been ready for this. And this is why I work so hard. There's no point in holding anything back now."
Verlander wasn't holding anything back either, as he was clocked at 100 mph in the eight inning via the radar gun.
"There's so much adrenaline in a situation like this," he said. "I lost my rhythm for three batters and they scored (two) runs to tie the game. But this team has a never-say-die attitude. We've done it all year. Come from behind. We've held leads. We've done everything we've had to do, and tonight's another example of that."
Jose Valverde took over in the ninth to close out the game for Detroit. A perfect 49 for 49 throughout the regular season, Valverde had everyone sweating late. He walked two in the inning and allowed a deep, warning track flyout before facing Derek Jeter for the final out. Jeter passed the 3000 mark in hitting this year but was struck out by Valverde to end the game, much to the relief of Detroit players and fans.
"It's not very comfortable with a guy that's got over 3,000 or so hits up there in that situation," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.
Detroit goes for the series win tonight at 8:37 pm est but they know it's not over till they end the ninth with more runs than the Yanks. New York is just too talented a team to take anything for granted.
Photo credit – AP