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Detroit Tigers Sweep Yankees: The Top 9 Reasons Why

Max Meyer |
October 19, 2012 | 5:05 p.m. PDT

Associate Sports Editor

Robinson Cano had one of the worst postseasons in MLB history. (kidsire/Creative Commons)
Robinson Cano had one of the worst postseasons in MLB history. (kidsire/Creative Commons)
This was the first time the New York Yankees were swept in a best-of-seven series since 1976, when they faced the Cincinnati Reds, who were known Big Red Machine at the time. Their offensive ineptitude was historic, as they had the worst batting average in postseason history (.188) for a team that played at least seven games. According to Elias Sports Bureau, the Tigers were the fifth team ever to sweep a best-of-seven postseason series without trailing at any point in the series. In fact, Tigers scored more in the elimination game (8) than Yankees scored in the whole series (6). So why were the Yankees so bad in the 2012 ALCS? Here are the top nine reasons why:

9. Joe Girardi

 The Yankees starting lineup in Game 4 consisted of Raul Ibanez, Eric Chavez, Russell Martin, Brett Gardner, and Eduardo Nunez in the five through nine spots in the lineup. I know Girardi shouldn't have trusted his stars such as Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson, but he still should have put his best hitters in the lineup in an elimination game. He made several head-scratching moves, and the Yankees manager definitely deserves some of the blame for this sweep. 

8. Nick Swisher

Swisher hit 5-30 in the postseason for a .166 batting average. Swisher's 3-13 in ALCS wasn't as bad as some of the other Yankees, but he killed them in key situations. Swisher had only one hit in five at-bats with runners in scoring position. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Swisher's .056 playoff career batting average with RISP (2-36) is the worst of all time. Good luck getting that massive contract this offseason Nick, when you had another one of your typical postseason performances. 

7. Derek Jeter's Injury

Jeter was hitting .333 in the postseason before he suffered a left ankle fracture in Game 1. Yankees only scored 2 runs in 27 innings after Jeter's injury. The Yankees were a much different team after losing one of their best hitters, leadoff man, and leader. 

The Yankees' offense was not the same after Derek Jeter's injury in Game 1 (Keith Allison/Creative Commons).
The Yankees' offense was not the same after Derek Jeter's injury in Game 1 (Keith Allison/Creative Commons).
6. Delmon Young

In the past two postseason series against Yankees, he's hitting .333 with 5 home runs and 9 RBI's. This ALCS he hit .294 with 2 home runs and 8 RBI's. Additionally, unlike the Yankees, Young had several huge hits in the series. According to ESPN Stats & Info, he was the first player ever to drive in the game-winning run in four different games in a postseason series. His clutch performance was the biggest reason why he won ALCS MVP.

5. Phil Coke

After Jose Valverde imploded by giving up four runs in the ninth inning of Game 1, the Tigers' bullpen was perceived as a weakness. Then, former Yankees' reliever Phil Coke stepped up. Coke pitched in all four games in the series, accumulating 5 and 2/3 scoreless innings. In all, he had two saves, one hold, and got the final three outs in Game 4 blowout win. He allowed just three hits in those appearances and racked up 4 K's. Most importantly though, he turned the Tigers' weakness into another strength. 

4. Alex Rodriguez 

Rodriguez went 3-25 this postseason, good for a .120 batting average. He only had nine at-bats in the ALCS, because the Yankees simply had no faith in him. He managed only one hit in those appearances. The most pathetic stat for A-Rod was the fact that he went 0-18 against right-handed pitchers, with 12 strikeouts. The highest paid player in the game got pinch-hit for three times and got benched three times in the postseason. Eric Chavez got playing time several times over A-Rod, even though he did not have any hits in postseason, which showed the Yankees' lack of faith in A-Rod. Also flirtgate was inexcusable, but I'm sure A-Rod will be able to find more cute girls in the stands next season in Miami.

3. Tigers Starting Pitching

Tigers starters have a 1.02 ERA so far postseason, which is the lowest ever amongst teams that have played at least five postseason games. Their 0.66 ERA versus Yankees was the second lowest starting pitcher ERA in a postseason series in MLB History. Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez, Justin Verlander, and Max Scherzer were dominant by allowing just 2 earned runs in 27 and 1/3 innings pitched. They were the biggest reason why Yankees hitters had a .157 average in series, the lowest batting average by any team in any postseason series ever. The only reason why they aren't listed higher on this list is because the Yankees had similar struggles against the Orioles in the ALDS. 

2. Curtis Granderson 

Granderson had a .166 batting average this postseason (3-30), but he was especially atrocious in the ALCS. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Granderon's 0-11 in the ALCS was the third worst 0-for by a Yankees player in a postseason series. Granderson struck out 16 times in the postseason, which was more than half his at-bats. He looked so bad at the plate that manager Joe Girardi benched him in the series-deciding Game 4. 

1. Robinson Cano

Cano was historically bad in the 2012 MLB playoffs. Cano hit 3-40 in the postseason, including 1-18 in the ALCS. His average in the postseason, .075, was the fourth worst all-time in a single postseason with at least 35 plate appearances. According to MLB.com's Richard Justice, Cano also had the lowest on-base percentage ever (.098) in a single postseason. His 0-29 streak this postseason was also an MLB worst. Cano was the best hitter for the Yankees in the regular season, and he finished the season on a 24-39 hot streak. To have such a disappointing performance like he did with such high expectations is why Cano is the biggest reason the Yankees got swept.  

Reach Associate Sports Editor Max Meyer here. Follow him here.



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