DETROIT — Delmon Young said his dream growing up was to play shortstop next to Chipper Jones and beat the Yankees in the World Series.
He had to settle for being named Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series against the Yankees as the designated hitter for the Tigers.
Maybe Jones was watching on television as Young went 6 for 17 with two home runs and six RBIs in the series. He drove in at least one run in each of the four games.
“Our pitching carried us throughout the whole series,” said Young, after going 2 for 4 with an RBI in an 8-1 victory on Thursday. “We didn’t need to go out there and score five, six runs every game to win the ballgame.”
Young has seven home runs and 14 RBIs in 18 playoff games over the last two seasons.
“Unbelievable,” said Tigers manager Jim Leyland. “He got hot again this year at the right time for us. He stepped it up under the bright lights.”
A former first overall draft pick, Young has experienced controversies in his career.
He threw a bat that struck an umpire during a Triple A Game in 2006 and was suspended for 50 games.
In April, while in New York for a series against the Yankees, Young was arrested for aggravated harassment after allegedly yelling an anti-Semitic slur while intoxicated. Young was suspended for seven games without pay and faces a November court date.
The Yankees have plenty of decisions to make now that their season is over.
Third baseman Eric Chavez, righthanders Mariano Rivera and Hiroki Kuroda, catcher Russell Martin, lefthander Andy Pettitte, and outfielders Ichiro Suzuki, Nick Swisher, and Andruw Jones will be free agents after the World Series.
Righthander Rafael Soriano, who filled in admirably for an injured Rivera as closer, can opt out of his contract. The Yankees also hold an option on center fielder Curtis Granderson.
Beyond all that, the Yankees also could be looking to trade Alex Rodriguez after his horrendous postseason. Rodriguez was 3 for 25 with no RBIs.
Rodriguez, 37, has five years and $114 million left on his contract and has full no-trade protection. But after being benched three times in nine postseason games and pinch hit for three other times, he may be agreeable to a deal.
The problem will be finding a team that would be willing to take Rodriguez, even if the Yankees agree to pay off the bulk of his onerous contract.
The Marlins and Dodgers have denied having interest. Given his physical limitations, Rodriguez may need to go to an American League team so he can DH as he ages.
Manager Joe Girardi was asked whether he had to repair his relationship with Rodriguez.
“I don’t know. As far as I know, we’re OK,” he said. “It’s not something I wanted to do, you know that. But I don’t have any signals he’s mad at me.”
Jose Valverde allowed four runs in Game 1 and was temporarily dropped as closer. Valverde did not pitch in the next three games as the Tigers used Phil Coke in the ninth inning.
Leyland was asked before the game whether the meltdown affected Valverde psychologically.
“I can’t answer that. I don’t go home and have dinner with him,” Leyland said. “I just talk to him when they come to the ballpark. And I talked to him in the outfield yesterday, and he seemed absolutely normal to me.”
Derek Lowe was with the Red Sox in 2004 when they came back from a 3-0 deficit in the ALCS to stun the Yankees. The veteran righthander was on the other side this year. Lowe signed with the Yankees in August and pitched well in relief. He made three appearances in the postseason, including the eighth inning on Thursday. Lowe allowed a home run by Austin Jackson before retiring the side. It was the 26th career postseason appearance for Lowe . . . Girardi got emotional at the end of his postgame press conference when he thanked reporters for respecting his privacy following the death of his father Oct. 6. Jerry Girardi was 81 . . . Motown greats the Four Tops performed the national anthem before the game.