The Yankees defeated the Detroit Tigers, 4-3, in Alex Rodriguez’s first game back at Yankee Stadium this season. About half of the stadium booed A-Rod when he came up for his first at-bat and the other half cheered his arrival back in the Bronx. Ivan Nova limited the Tigers to only one run in seven very solid innings.
Detroit was on a 12-game winning streak coming into the opener of the series and the Yankees had lost their previous four games. The Yankees are showing a little bit of progress on offense because in their last two games they have scored four and five runs, but in the previous five games they had not scored more than three runs.
The offensive leaders were Robinson Cano, Brett Gardner and Ichrio Suzuki. Cano had a double in the third inning that drove in Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki. That was Cano’s only multiple RBI game in his last 10 games and he only has three total runs driven in in his last 10 games. Hopefully this is a sign of his power coming back. Gardner, on the other hand, had three hits, two runs scored, and RBI and a steal. Gardner has been an offensive catalyst as he is on a four-game hitting streak and has driven in a run in three out of his past four games.
Rodrigues did nothing to help the offense or stop the boos from the fans as he had zero hits in four at-bats with three strikeouts. He looked decent in his three games in Chicago, where he got on base with walks and a hit by pitch and was three for 11, but looked overwhelmed back at Yankee Stadium. It is possible that he will be able to turn it around in his second game at home as he has not driven in a run so far. He is obviously not what he was even two years ago, but he is still an upgrade over the previous third baseman that the Yankees were playing.
Garner’s third hit of the game was obviously his most important as he hit a perfectly placed single past Miguel Cabrera and Hernan Perez to drive Jayson Nix for the winning run in the 10th inning. Nix entered the game as a defensive replacement of A-Rod in the ninth. This makes sense because A-Rod does not have the speed defensively that he used to as a result of his two hip surgeries.
Ivan Nova, who has only allowed two runs in his past three starts, has been by far the second best pitcher after Hiroki Kuroda this season. He has combined for 23 strikeouts over his past three starts while only allowing six walks. A sign of success for a pitcher is limiting the free passes and being able to get out of trouble in an inning and that is what Nova has been doing. However, Nova (just like Kuroda) should have about nine wins instead of the five that he has as a result of the anemic offense that the Yankees have displayed for much of the season.
Mariano Rivera has blown the save in each of the last two games. That is a sight that the Yankees have seen very few times during his Hall of Fame career. It was his fourth blown save of the season. Overbay came very close to making an outstanding catch on a fly ball that went near the photographers and if the would have reached for it at a different angle he might have caught it. Rivera said that he thought Overbay had a chance to make the great catch.
The Yankees have 48 more games left the season and will likely have to win at least 32 games to have a chance at a Wild Card. They are currently seven games behind the Texas Rangers for the second Wild Card spot. It obviously does not seem likely that the Yankees will make the playoffs right now, but if Phil Hughes, CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte can string together solid starts and the offense can stay consistent it is possible.