NEW YORK – This is how far Alex Rodriguez has fallen in the eyes of those who used to fear him: With the tying runs already on base in the ninth inning, Tigers manager Jim Leyland toyed with the idea of intentionally walking Robinson Cano – yes, loading the bases, putting the potential winning run on first, practically signing his death notice – just to get to the slumping A-Rod.
“It did cross my mind,” is what Leyland said before losing his nerve. Jose Valverde ultimately retired Cano, the Tigers survived the Yankees’ uprising, and in holding on for a 5-3 victory on Sunday, now have the home-field advantage in the final three games of the AL Division Series.
It’ll be up to CC Sabathia to outpitch Justin Verlander tonight, which is to stay the Yankees will be staving off a doomsday scenario in Game 4 with A.J. Burnett as their last line of defense. But scoring runs off Verlander figures to be just as challenging as it was against Max Scherzer, who shocked the Bombers by taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning.