The Tigers tied the best of five series against the Yankees on a sunny and crisp fall afternoon in New York. They followed the ideal formula to beat the Bombers: a few well-timed hits (the revenge of Marcus Thames), add some pop (Carlos Guillen), mix in some decent starting pitching and then get to your devastating bullpen. Final score: 4-3. Justin Verlander was effectively wild as the Yankees did not score early, which tends to mean they're going to have a long day. Other than Johnny Damon's three-run, upper-deck home run, were effectively shut down all game long. Jason Giambi hit a long ball that went foul, Bobby Abreu hit a long single that was just short of a dinger too. And Mike Mussina could not protect a 3-1. The worst of for Mussina came when he left an 0-2 mistake rigth over the plate to Curtis Granderson, who tripled home the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh.
Joel Zumaya was sick for the Tigers, striking out Jeter, Giambi and Alex Rodriguez late in the game and throwing steadily over 100 mph. Rodriguez went 0-4 and took the brunt of the fan's abuse. He didn't have a good game, however, his first and last strike outs, well, those were cases where you just have to credit the pitcher now, don't you?
For a fine re-cap of the game, check out Tyler Kepner's story today in the Times. Pete Abraham has a host of good links for a change.
Now, we've got ourselves a serious. You may have your doubts about Randy Johnson, who is looking to make-up for his lousy showing in Game 3 of the 2005 ALDS (and I think he will), but as a friend said to me yesterday, "It's not so much that I'm confident in Johnson, it is that I am positive that Kenny Rogers will be awful." Tonight gives a new twist to the title "Grumpy, Old Men." Johnson and Rogers may have different styles, but they both seem like miserabl sobs in their own special way.
I'm headed up to Vermont for the weekend. I'll be checking in and providing pre-and-post game articles, though there may be fewer links than usual, on the count of they've only got a dial-up connection where I'm going to be out in the sticks. Cliff returns on Sunday from his honeymoon. Here's hoping he'll have something to sink his teeth into (i.e., ALCS Preview) when he arrives.