Jeter-less Yankees look to even ALCS
After another long night in the Bronx, the New York Yankees will now be without their captain as they try to avoid a two-game deficit in the AL championship series.
Derek Jeter is out for the rest of the postseason with a broken left ankle for the Yankees, who will send Hiroki Kuroda to the mound on three days' rest as they try to draw even with the Detroit Tigers on Sunday in Game 2.
The Yankees dropped Saturday's opener 6-4 in 12 innings despite rallying from four runs down in the ninth on two-Yankeerun homers by Ichiro Suzuki and Raul Ibanez off Tigers closer Jose Valverde.
But the defeat became an afterthought when Jeter fractured his ankle in the 12th. It happened when he dove to his left for a grounder hit by Jhonny Peralta, was unable to put weight on his left leg and had to be helped off the field by manager Joe Girardi and trainer Steve Donahue.
"They talked about a three-month recovery period," Girardi said. "Won't jeopardize his career, but he will not be playing any more for us this year."
Jeter, who will not need surgery, recorded his 200th career postseason hit Saturday and is tied with Suzuki for the team lead with nine hits in the playoffs. Girardi said that Eduardo Nunez, who was left off the ALCS roster, will be added to replace Jeter.
The manager compared losing Jeter to how the Yankees lost iconic closer Mariano Rivera to a torn ACL in May.
"We have to find a way to try to get it done," Girardi said. "I think some people left us for dead when Mo went down and here we are in the ALCS."
This unprecedented stretch of five playoff home games in as many days concludes Sunday after New York won in 12 innings Wednesday and lost in 13 on Thursday in a division series against Baltimore.
These teams needed aces Justin Verlander of Detroit and CC Sabathia of New York to capture decisive Game 5s, leaving those pitchers unavailable this weekend. Verlander will start Game 3 on Tuesday in Detroit and Sabathia Game 4 the next day.
It means that a loss by Kuroda (0-0, 2.16 ERA) would leave the Yankees down 2-0 ahead of facing the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner and MVP in Verlander in the third game on the road.
Kuroda has never pitched on short rest. Girardi had few Game 2 options with the ALCS starting one day after the Yankees took Game 5 over the Orioles.
"I am not crazy about it, but there is not really a lot I can do about it, so we have to live with it," Girardi said. "The extra wild card was added, and this is a function of that because the TV schedule was set."
Girardi re-installed Alex Rodriguez in the lineup Saturday in the No. 6 slot after benching the three-time AL MVP on Friday. Rodriguez went 0 for 3 to drop to 2 for 19 with 10 strikeouts in the playoffs, failing with the bases loaded in the first inning in the ALCS opener before he was replaced by a pinch-hitter for the third straight start.
Detroit, meanwhile, was victorious but has questions to ask about Valverde. The closer blew a two-run lead in the ninth inning with a chance to eliminate Oakland in a 4-3 road loss Wednesday, and his career postseason ERA has ballooned to 8.79.
"We really want to put our heads together and discuss it first, to be honest with you, and get together as a coaching staff and talk about it," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.
Delmon Young bailed out the beleaguered closer by doubling in the go-ahead run in the 12th. Young, who homered three times in last year's division series against the Yankees, also went deep in Game 1 as part of a three-hit night.
The Tigers will get their third look this year at Kuroda, who had a 3.38 ERA and no decisions in two regular-season outings.
Kuroda is unsure of what to expect Sunday after yielding two runs over 8 1-3 innings Wednesday in a 3-2, 12-inning win over the Orioles.
"This is probably the shortest rest that I have ever had in my baseball career, but at this point of the season, you know, we can't really be talking about anything but to win," Kuroda said through an interpreter. "So I'm just going to prepare myself to win this game, like I always have been, throughout the season."
Kuroda's lone career LCS start was a disaster in 2009 with the Dodgers. He lasted 1 1-3 innings and was charged with six runs in an 11-0 defeat at Philadelphia in Game 3.
The right-hander is 11-6 with a 2.69 ERA in 20 home starts this year including Wednesday's outing, and is 5-2 with a 1.99 ERA in eight overall day outings.
Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera is 4 for 9 with two homers lifetime against Kuroda.
Anibal Sanchez (0-1, 2.84) will start for the Tigers. Sanchez has never pitched at the current Yankee Stadium, but has fond memories of the Bronx since he won his big-league debut in the old one with Florida in 2006.
"I think about it, you know, that's my first time in the new stadium, the Yankee Stadium," Sanchez said. "I got my debut in the old stadium, and this was the first time my mom come to U.S."
The right-hander's only other career start against New York came Aug. 8 when he was tagged for seven runs over seven-plus innings in a 12-8 defeat.