After five consecutive wins, the New York Yankees and their building momentum towards a playoff berth were halted by the Detroit Tigers who have their own worries in the AL Central, claiming a 5-2 victory behind an excellent pitching performance from Rick Porcello.
The Yankees, heading into Detroit with Brandon McCarthy getting the start, were hoping for a bit more from their pitcher. McCarhy did last over six innings but gave up nine hits and allowed five runs, beginning with the second inning in which he loaded the bases and then walked Rajai Davis. We didn’t see any big hitting from the Tigers, not getting a single home run, but it was a strong day for J.D. Martinez with 3-for-4 at the plate and an RBI. Torii Hunter also had a multiple hit performance and an RBI.
Porcello improved to 15-8 this season, staying in the game for eight innings, striking out only two and giving up nine hits, but allowing just two runs – A home run to Jacoby Ellsbury in the fifth and again to Ellsbury, reaching 13 this season, in the 8th inning. However, in the few opportunities the Yankees did have runners in scoring positions they failed to deliver, finishing with 0-for-3 in those situations.
So while the Tigers haven’t been playing well in August and lost the lead in the AL Central, they’re on a three-game winning streak, putting them only 1.5 games behind the Royals. With 30 or slightly more games to go around the league, the race for finishing on top of the division is far from over, and it’ll probably fall on the shoulders of the starting pitchers to determine how well the Tigers do in the next five weeks.
Joe Nathan came away with his 28th save of the season to clinch the win in a game that lasted just 150 minutes, as things moved along quite quickly. The loss hurt the Yankees as they try and put some pressure on the Baltimore Orioles and in the Wild Card chase, now falling seven games behind first in the AL East and 3.5 games behind the Seattle Mariners for the Wild Card spot.
The Tigers right now are also looking at the Wild Card standings, finding themselves just outside the top two, with 0.5 games separating them and Seattle as the AL West continues to be very close to call. If the Tigers sweep the Yankees in Detroit with two more games left in the series, it’s going to be a lot more difficult believing the Yankees are a playoff team, and it’ll be official that the slump the Tigers are in is over.