They sure would have.
The Yankees lost Game 1, 6-4 in 12 innings, and worse – much, much, much, much worse – Derek Jeter suffered a hideous fractured ankle, which appeared to snap as he dived for a ground ball in the top of the 12th.
You’d have to be pretty naïve, if not downright silly to say that winning or losing Game 1 of a best-of-seven series has any enormity.
This one did for the Yankees.
This would have been a bad loss for so many reasons, even if Jeter had gotten up, dusted himself off and continued playing.
But now, well, are there even words?
“It’s a way to honor Derek in his absence, is to fight for him,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. “That’s what these guys’ mentality is. That’s what they’re going to be thinking. Sad for him, and that he’s not here to compete against a great team like Detroit, but there’s opportunities that a lot of people can take advantage of, and shine.”
The offensively-challenged Yankees wasted a four-run ninth inning highlighted by two-run homers by Ichiro Suzuki and the new Mr. September-October Raul Ibanez, both off flammable Tigers flammable closer Jose Valverde, and the Yankees burned through their bullpen heading into their fifth home game in five days today.
The Jeter injury was most disturbing to say the least, as he had to be helped off the field with his left leg dangling. It’s a three-month recovery, Joe Girardi said, though not career-threatening.
“I’m sad for him,” Girardi said, “because I know how much he loves to play, and play in these type of situations. But he would tell us, ‘Let’s go.’”
Associated Press photo