When the New York Yankees square off against the Detroit Tigers Wednesday night in Game 4 of the ALCS, the boys in pinstripes will be playing for their postseason lives.
With Detroit taking a commanding 3-0 series lead, the World Series is just a step away for Tigers faithful. As for the Yankees, they need to mount one of the biggest comebacks in sports history.
That starts with winning Game 4.
All of the following stars must shine tonight for their teams, but those who shine the brightest will lead their squad to the win. You don’t want to miss a second of this ALCS action.
C.C. Sabathia, SP, New York Yankees
The New York Yankees look to avoid elimination by using their ace C.C. Sabathia to catapult the team into Game 5 and back into the series.
New York needs a big game from their big man.
In two postseason starts so far, Sabathia has two wins and 17.2 innings pitched out of a possible 18; to say that the veteran is the team’s saving grace is an understatement.
With 16 strikeouts and a minuscule 1.53 earned run average against the Baltimore Orioles in the divisional series, Sabathia could be the only man wearing Yankee pinstripes who can hold off the possible elimination Wednesday.
Max Scherzer, SP, Detroit Tigers
The Detroit Tigers will look to cash their World Series ticket emphatically Wednesday by sweeping the New York Yankees on the shoulder of hard-throwing right-hander Max Scherzer.
Scherzer started only one postseason game this year and left after 5.1 innings with a no-decision, but the veteran let in no earned runs, struck out eight batters and allowed just three hits.
As great as his performance was, the Tigers need more out of Scherzer with a bullpen rattled by recent pitfalls. I’m looking at you, Jose Valverde.
If the Tigers want to put their foot on the Yankees' throat and finish the series before New York gets another chance to make this ALCS interesting, they need a seven-plus-inning performance from Scherzer.
Alex Rodriguez, 3B, New York Yankees
No one has polarized the fans this MLB postseason more than New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez. His poor play for the team has caused everyone from Donald Trump to Kobe Bryant to weigh in on the slugger’s woes.
No matter what people say, the Yankees can’t sit their biggest star in what could be the last game of the season. Even if he doesn’t start the game, the club must put Rodriguez in the lineup within the first three innings to give themselves a better chance to win.
A slumping A-Rod is still better than Eric Chavez.
Just like a shooter in basketball or a kicker in football, the only way for Rodriguez to shake his poor play will be by getting on the field and in the batter’s box. No matter how hard Scherzer throws, A-Rod deserves to be in the lineup.
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