ALCS Game 3: Yankees – Livin On A Prayer

ame 3 of the ALCS begins tonight at Detroit and the New Yorks Yankees are down 0-2. They’re ‘living on a prayer’, but they aren’t half way there.

Going into tonight’s Game 3, the Yankees have to put themselves in a regular season mindset. Don’t think about Games 1, 2, 6, 7. Those games are in the past and future. Go to Detroit, and think about winning two out of three, as if it was a regular season road series in Detroit. That’s all they have to do. If they can sweep, god bless them — but think, two from three.

Phil Hughes: If he wants to make his name and stay in this rotation for the future, this is the start where he can do that. I know Hughes can pitch and get nothing for because the Yankee offense has been that bad, but he can pitch and you have to believe the offense will hit.

A 24-year old Andy Pettitte, really made his name at the 1996 World Series – Game 5, against John Smoltz, in that infamous pitching duel, where the Yankees won 1-0, and took the series lead 3-2 in Atlanta. That can be Hughes in 2012. He can be a part of something special; a new wave of Yankees’; a new core can start tonight — and it can start with Hughes.

The Lineup: Most likely, Brett Gardner will start. Which means Nick Swisher will sit. And in Comerica Park I like a defensive outfield of Gardner in right, Curtis Granderson in center and Ichiro Suzuki in left. You need speed in that huge outfield. Besides, I prefer to take great defense in right field than horrible hitting.

With Granderson, you know he’s slumping but he can cover massive ground in the outfield. Swisher is not hitting and missed a couple of costly plays in right field in this series.

I wouldn’t sit Granderson because he knows that ballpark more than anyone on the Yankees. He knows defensively and offensively. Never know — Granderson can get hot and hit some doubles in the gaps at Comerica.

I didn’t expect Gardner to play at all, just for the fact that he hasn’t even played nine innings of baseball in a while. He hasn’t had many live at-bats. But he is 3 for 8 with 3 walks against Justin Verlander. That’s enough to get him in.

Robinson Cano: I believe, without Yankee Stadium and that short porch in right looking tempting and with Comerica having those huge gaps, Cano will get going.

Cano needs to go back to being Cano. That Cano who use to spray the ball all over the park. When he does that, he’s the most dangerous hitter in the world.

Nunez at SS: This just in while I was doing this post, and I had a feeling, for some reason, that Eduardo Nunez would be in the lineup. I figured it’d happen since they took so long putting it together.

I agree with Nunez in the lineup because of his bat, but not his glove. We all know Nunez is skilled and can be a better SS than he already is, but this is a must-win game the Yankees. Yankees are down 0-2 in this series.

Again — I know Nunez has potential at short, but that is risky of Girardi.

I understand his bat being in the lineup. He’s got a quick bat for a hard-thrower like Verlander and can balls in the gaps.

A-Rod Out of the Lineup: Shocked. Yankees last win was Game 5 without A-Rod in the lineup, but I felt that he would hit in Detroit. I really did. I pictured him getting hot these games.

The Yankees front office — or Girardi — must feel that A-Rod is a distraction. Maybe they feel he has a negative domino effect on the rest of the players. The players probably don’t think that or won’t say it.

Since Game 1 of the ALDS, you can say the Yankees won two games without A-Rod. When Raul Ibanez pinch-hit for him in Game 3 of the ALDS, they tied the game and won. I don’t agree with not playing him, though, there is reasons.

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