This start will now be the biggest of Hiroki Kuroda's career. (Image: William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via US PRESSWIRE)

ALCS Game 2 Preview: Life without Jeter

After a wild Game 1 and the loss of their captain Derek Jeter, the New York Yankees have a huge hill to climb in their series against the Detroit Tigers in the American League Championship Series.

Eduardo Nunez was added to roster to replace Jeter who suffered a fractured ankle in the deciding twelfth inning last night. Jeter will require three months recovery time but no surgery for what is described as a crack in his left ankle. Early indications are that Jayson Nix will handle shortstop duties in Jeter’s absence.

The Yankees have Hiroki Kuroda on the mound facing Tigers righty Anibal Sanchez down 1-0 in the ALCS.

Kuroda enjoyed an impressive 2012 regular season and tossed a very good game in Game 2 of the ALDS against the Baltimore Orioles. He was not given much run support by the offense which was pretty much in line with what he dealt with during the regular season.

Against the Tigers in 2012, Kuroda received two no-decisions in 13.1 innings with a 3.38 ERA. Both games were pitched on the road. Kuroda was 11-6 with a 2.72 ERA at home during the regular season.

Sanchez began the season a member of the Miami Marlins and once they felt they were out of playoff contention he became one of a few players the Marlins shipped out of town. He did a good job for the Tigers especially down the stretch in September.

He faced the Yankees once during the series in August and was touched up for seven earned runs in three innings of work.

As the Yankees search for offense continues and becomes that much harder with Jeter out of the lineup there are plenty of questions to answer. One, will Alex Rodriguez get any time at shortstop? Will Rodriguez even get a start against the righty? Remember, he was pulled when the Yankees were down 4-0 last night.

Will Raul Ibanez get moved up in the lineup since it seems like he is the only player driving in runs right now? He has three humongous home runs and five RBI in the postseason.

Is Robinson Cano going to break out of his slump? He is now zero for his last twenty-two at-bats and 2-for-28 in the postseason after last night’s 0-for-6. He was hitting .615 over his last nine regular season games so to say he fell off a cliff is an understatement.

If the Tigers have a lead in the ninth who will Tigers manager Jim Leyland turn to? Jose Valverde? Joaquin Benoit? Octavio Dotel? Valverde has given up seven earned runs in his last two appearances.

It should be an interesting finish to the series no matter the answers to the questions above. It will be strange seeing Jeter sitting in the dugout with Mariano Rivera at the start of a playoff game.

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