The Yankees survived their poor hitting in the ALDS by supporting the excellent pitching with solid defense. The hitting was similarly poor and the pitching was similarly good in the ALCS. However, in each game against the Tigers, the Yankees failed to make plays that they should have made, which led to critical runs. These misplays cost the Yankees dearly:
- Game 1: In the 12th inning, Swisher missed Delmon Young's line drive, which knocked in the go-ahead run. This was scored as a double, but Swisher should have caught it.
- Game 2: In the 7th inning, Delmon Young hit a double-play ground ball; however, Cano was not able to get the ball out of his glove, giving the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
- Game 3: 2 plays in the 5th inning gave the Tigers the game's second run:
- Chavez made an error allowing Quintin Berry to reach base.
- Granderson then misplayed Cabrera's fly ball to deep center; Granderson seemed to get a poor jump on a ball he could and should have caught. This scored Berry.
- Game 4:
2 big early errors not only gave Detroit its first 2 runs, but also
caused the struggling CC Sabathia to expend 1-2 innings of extra
- In the first inning, Chavez misplayed a ground ball by Infante into an infield hit. Infante eventually came around to score the game's first run.
- In the third inning, Teixeira missed an inning-ending ground ball, instead leaving the bases loaded. The game's 2nd run eventually scored on a weak ground ball.
Ironically, terrible umpiring combined with Bud Selig's incompetence regarding replay robbed the Yankees of a critical defensive play, which was when Swisher threw behind second base to pick off Infante; the 2nd and 3rd runs of the game would not have scored if MLB had replay.
Anyway, the first 3 games were all close, tightly contested games, and obviously could have gone the Yankees' way if Swisher, Cano, Granderson, and Chavez played defense as well as they normally play it. Even game 4 could have gone differently: CC did not have his good stuff, but if Chavez and Teixeira make those plays, that's 2 runs less spotted to the Tigers, maybe 20 stressful pitches less that CC would have had to throw in the first 3 inning - a completely different ball game, in other words.
There is no guarantee that the Yankees would have won any or all of these games if the Yankees made the plays they should have made. At some point, they still would have had to score. But if they had made these plays, odds are that the Yankees would still have some baseball left to play.