Even though I’ve been referred to by Smitty as a “hysterical blogger” for suggesting Jim Leyland do something as crazy as pitch his ace on short rest in a deciding game of the ALDS (like a lot of managers do), I would hardly call it hysterical, just smart. After the Yankees base hit the Tigers into submission yesterday I would not leave my hopes of advancing to someone who’s pitched the worse in the series thus far. The other reason for Leyland not to pitch Fister is because of his history against the Yankees current line-up and bench; a .310 batting average with an .860 ops, and 13 RBIs. The Yankees starters have faced Fister in at least three games and account for 12 of the 13 RBIs including three homers, 5 doubles and a triple. Statistically it’s not a good match-up.
In Ivan Nova’s limited time in baseball that includes a relief appearance and one start against Detroit, he’s kept their hitter’s in check with a .219 batting average allowing no runs or extra base hits.
The other thing that history tells us is the Yankees haven’t fared all that well in the ALDS when it goes past three games, a very favorable stat for the Tigers. The Yankees have been to the playoffs every year since 1995 except 2008; that’s right, over the last 17 seasons they Yankees have been to the postseason 16 times including this season, of those visits when the ALDS went at least four games the Yankees have lost six out of 15 attempts. They’ve only won two game fives in the ALDS that date back to 2000-2001, but of the nine wins in the ALDS round four of those were sweeps, so the advantage increased dramatically when an opponent can extend the series. Well at least enough to give opponents a 6-5 record against the Yankees in the ALDS round, one of those winners was the Detroit Tigers in 2006. More recent history will tell you that the Yankees have not escaped this round in three of their last five visits when they did not sweep.
So what conclusion can you draw after reading this, that it’s all up for grabs in what should be an exciting Game 5 of the ALDS tomorrow evening. If recent history proves anything, then Smitty should be drinking a victorious brew about 10:45pm on Thursday evening.