Though Game 1 of the ALCS saw a thrilling comeback by the New York Yankees before an eventual loss in extra-innings, the biggest story to come out of the game was that Derek Jeter would miss the rest of the postseason with a fractured ankle.
In the 12th inning, after the Yankees put up four runs in the ninth to force extra innings, Jeter went down trying to field a Jhonny Peralta ground ball hit up the middle. The longtime Yankees captain could not get up under his own power and was eventually helped off the field.
Though losing Game 1 has to sting, the injury to Jeter is an even bigger loss for New York. The Yankees not only lost their leadoff hitter, but the MLB's all-time leader for hits and runs in the postseason.
The Yankees will now have to rely on Ichiro Suzuki as their leadoff man, and hope that Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson and Alex Rodriguez can pull out of their prolonged slumps.
The Bronx Bombers left the bases loaded a record-setting three times on Saturday. If they are going to beat the Tigers, the heart of the order needs to start producing at the plate.
Jayson Nix will fill in for Jeter at short, but his bat is unlikely to fill the void left by "Mr. November." Defensively, Nix should be an improvement, as Jeter tweaked his ankle in the ALDS and was a bit hobbled making throws to begin with.
There is no question that Jeter is the heart and soul of the Yankees, but now it will be up to 25 of his teammates to work around his absence and keep this a series. With Sunday's game being an afternoon affair, they do not have much time to reflect on their dramatic loss in Game 1.
Joe Girardi is a good motivational manager, and he needs to rally his troops now more than ever.
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