CC Sabathia will try to prevent a celebration, but the Yankees' bats may be more important to keeping the champagne corked.
Max Scherzer looks to help the Tigers complete the first postseason sweep of the Yankees in 32 years Wednesday night at Comerica Park.
Detroit eliminated the Yankees in five games of last year's division series, but the postseason run fell short of the World Series.
The Tigers have a chance to keep that from happening this year after putting themselves on the brink of a sweep in this ALCS by winning 2-1 in Game 3. Justin Verlander limited the Yankees to three hits in 8 1-3 innings, making his only mistake on Eduardo Nunez 's homer in the ninth.
"We put ourselves in a decent position, but that's all we have done," manager Jim Leyland said.
It's been 36 postseason series since New York has been swept, dating to the 1980 ALCS against Kansas City.
The offense isn't providing much hope of avoiding a similar fate this time. The Yankees are hitting .200 in the playoffs and .158 in the ALCS, on track to be a record low for New York in a postseason series, eclipsing a .171 average against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1963 World Series.
"There were some good at-bats (Tuesday). The ball was not carrying tremendously well, we know that," manager Joe Girardi said. "But I think (Verlander) ended up with three strikeouts. So our guys put the ball in play and tried to get on base, but, you know, when you face Verlander, you know what you're up against.
"The thing that you do is you keep encouraging the guys and you keep telling them, 'Hey, find a way, find a way to get it done.'"
New York's offensive shortcomings likely means Sabathia (2-0, 1.53 ERA) needs to toss another gem to keep the Yankees' season alive.
The left-hander is one out shy of tossing complete games in both of his postseason starts.
"I always want to go out and try to shut the other team down and give us as many opportunities to score," Sabathia said. "As cold as we are, we can get just as hot, especially with our lineup and the veterans we have and great players we have."
Success in the playoffs certainly isn't new for Sabathia. He's 7-1 with a 3.09 ERA in 13 games - 12 starts - since moving to New York in 2009. However, he wasn't very effective in three meetings - two starts - against the Tigers in last year's division series, surrendering six runs and eight walks in 8 2-3 innings.
The 2009 ALCS MVP was much better against them this year, winning all three starts behind a 3.32 ERA. However, he was helped by an offense that averaged 8.7 runs.
One of those victories came opposite Scherzer in a 6-2 win in the Bronx. Sabathia allowed two runs with eight strikeouts in eight innings, while Scherzer had a career-high seven walks and allowed three runs in 4 2-3.
The Tigers' right-hander was 4-0 with a 2.39 ERA in his previous five games - four starts - against New York, including two in the 2011 division series.
Despite the Yankees' offensive struggles, Scherzer isn't taking the AL East champions lightly.
"You know, anytime you catch a team that's hot or a team that's struggling, to me, it doesn't really matter," Scherzer said. "They're going to come at you with a game plan to try to knock you out of the game. That's simply as it is. And they are going to come ready to attack me, so I have to be ready to attack them."
Scherzer's only appearance in this postseason was wasted in last Wednesday's 4-3 loss at Oakland in Game 4 of the division series. He allowed one unearned run with eight strikeouts in 5 1-3 innings before closer Jose Valverde surrendered three runs in the ninth.
Delmon Young is looking to continue his postseason success after hitting a solo homer Tuesday. He's 4 for 13 with two home runs and five RBIs in this series.
Young's seven career playoff homers is a Tigers record, and he's hit five of them - one off Sabathia - in eight games against New York while batting .313 with eight RBIs.
"He had a great postseason last year and he picked up right where he left off," Leyland said.
Miguel Cabrera 's success isn't quite as surprising. The Triple Crown winner is 4 for 11 in this series and is batting .361 with six homers and 15 RBIs during his record 16-game hitting streak in LCS play.
It will be interesting to see if Girardi benches struggling third baseman Alex Rodriguez for the second straight game.
Rodriguez was left on the bench Tuesday after going 5 for 41 in 11 playoff games over the last two postseasons, including 3 for 23 with 12 strikeouts in six contests this year.
Rodriguez is 1 for 12 in his career versus Scherzer.
Only the 2004 Boston Red Sox - against the Yankees - have overcome a 3-0 deficit in a postseason series.
|New York Yankees|
|October 16, 2012||Phil Hughes||Day-to-Day||Left game - back stiffness|
|October 13, 2012||Derek Jeter||Day-to-Day||Fractured left ankle|
|September 19, 2012||Dellin Betances||60-Day DL||Right shoulder injury|
|September 19, 2012||Dellin Betances||60-Day DL||Right shoulder injury|
|September 09, 2012||Mark Teixeira||Day-to-Day||Strained left calf|
|September 02, 2012||Curtis Granderson||Day-to-Day||Right hamstring tendinitis|
|September 28, 2012||Octavio Dotel||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore right biceps|
|September 27, 2012||Max Scherzer||Day-to-Day||Right deltoid strain|
|September 18, 2012||Max Scherzer||Day-to-Day||Left game - right shoulder fatigue|
|September 16, 2012||Austin Jackson||Day-to-Day||Sore left ankle|
|September 11, 2012||Ryan Raburn||15-Day DL||Strained right quadriceps|
|August 23, 2012||Doug Fister||Day-to-Day||Tightness in right groin|
DETROIT (AP) -- One win from the World Series. Rainy or not, the Detroit Tigers will have to wait.
Game 4 of the AL championship series between the Tigers and New York Yankees was postponed because of a stormy forecast Wednesday night - although Comerica Park was still dry when the decision was made.
"They kept saying it was going to come and it never came," Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer said. "So go figure."
About an hour later, however, heavy rain started to fall, soaking the tarp that was placed on the infield before the postponement.
With the Tigers seeking a sweep in the best-of-seven series, Game 4 was rescheduled for Thursday at 4:07 p.m. New York will send ace CC Sabathia to the mound against Scherzer. The Tigers will have lefty Phil Coke , who saved Games 2 and 3, available after a day of rest.
Game 5, if necessary, would be Friday in Detroit.
Under the original schedule, there was a good chance Sabathia would pitch a potential Game 7 on three days' rest if the Yankees rallied in the series. Now, he might be limited to one start - and New York might need to win four games in four days to advance.
"You cannot think about Game 7 when you need to win a game," New York second baseman Robinson Cano said.
Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson , benched along with third baseman Alex Rodriguez by manager Joe Girardi on Wednesday before the game was called, said the unplanned night off might actually help him and his slumping team.
"It's definitely not going to hurt by any means," Granderson said. "We haven't played well to this point. Who knows? Change is always a good thing."
The first pitch Wednesday night was slated for 8:07 p.m. But shortly before the scheduled start, the crowd was informed of a delay. A radar forecast for the Detroit area was eventually posted on the scoreboard video screen, as if to explain to fans why there was no baseball despite what was still pleasant weather at the ballpark.
The postponement was announced after a delay of about 70 minutes. A misty rain finally began about 15 minutes after the postponement was announced and steady rain followed shortly thereafter.
The Tigers are no strangers to rain in the playoffs. Last year, ace Justin Verlander had two starts cut short by bad weather - although both were on the road.
"A lot of people were pretty upset that Verlander didn't get to finish his start," Detroit catcher Alex Avila said. "So, I think people would be pretty upset if they didn't get to see Scherzer and Sabathia finish their starts as well. Major League Baseball is trying to protect not only the pitchers, but also play a clean game without having to stop and stuff like that."
After Game 1 of the 2011 ALCS at Texas was delayed twice for a total of 1 hour, 50 minutes, Game 2 was called off well before the scheduled first pitch because of a forecast calling for more wet weather. Then, it didn't rain that night.
There is also a chance of rain in Detroit during at least parts of Thursday and Friday, but the forecast calls for mostly sunny and partly cloudy skies late afternoon and early evening Thursday that would allow the teams to play ball.