Tigers v. Yankees ALDS preview

The Detroit Tigers will face the New York Yankees in the ALDS starting Friday night in the Bronx. The Tigers did their part on Wednesday night but thanks to a Mike Napoli 2-run homer in the top of the 9th, the Texas Rangers snuck out home field advantage over Detroit and will play the wild-card winning Tampa Bay Rays.

The Tigers finished the regular season 95-67 and 15 games up on the Cleveland Indians in the AL Central. Meanwhile, the Yankees wrapped up the AL East with a 97-65 mark, 6 games ahead of the Rays.

This series will be a rematch of the 2006 ALDS in which the Tigers upset the Yankees 3 games to 1. The Yankees held home field advantage in ’06 as well.

Victor Martinez

Jim Leyland has predetermined his postseason starting rotation while Joe Girardi is still debating how his will shake out.

Leyland is going with Justin Verlander and Doug Fister in games 1 and 2 in New York. Max Scherzer will pitch game 3 in Detroit. If game 4 in Motown is necessary it will be 22-year old Rick Porcello on the bump and Verlander would pitch game 5 back in New York, should the Yankees be fortunate enough to get that far.

Girardi will throw CC Sabathia in game 1 against Verlander and rookie Ivan Nova will oppose Fister in game 2. The 3rd starter has yet to be determined but you can bet the house that it will be Freddy Garcia, a soft-tosser who generally has his way with the Tigers. AJ Burnett and Bartolo Colon are also in consideration but certainly cannot be trusted come playoff time. Update: Garcia will be the game 3 starter, Burnett will pitch out of the pen and Colon might be left off the roster altogether.

Girardi will start Sabathia on short rest if necessary; something Leyland is unwilling to do with Verlander.

Both teams have prolific offenses. Detroit features MVP candidate and AL batting champion Miguel Cabrera (.344, 105 RBI’s) and his bodyguard, Victor Martinez (.330, 103 RBI’s) not to mention Jhonny Peralta (86 RBI’s) and Alex Avila (82).

The Yankees boast fellow MVP candidate Curtis Granderson (41 homers) and a few other intimidating presences as well. Mark Teixeira (39 HR’s) and Robinson Cano (28) also help carry the mail. Derek Jeter (.297 avg.) has had a strong bounce-back year and Alex Rodriguez, despite a sore knee, is always dangerous.

And if these similarities between the two teams weren’t enough, they also roll out 2 of the best setup men and closers in baseball.

Jose Valverde was a perfect 49 for 49 in saves in 2011 and Joaquin Benoit got the ball to him with great effectiveness from June through the end of the season. In much the same manner, David Robertson has more than effectively passed the baton to the all-time saves leader Mariano Rivera.

Without question, this series will be the marquee round 1 matchup throughout the playoffs.

Detroit has the overall pitching edge thanks to the dominance of Doug Fister since his arrival at the trade deadline. Offensively, New York has a slight advantage but the Tigers can score with anyone, and over the last 2 months, they have.

The silver lining that shines through the Tigers dropping the battle for home field advantage is how the pitching shakes out.

Leyland will now throw his 2 best pitchers in the closet known as Yankee Stadium. His lesser known commodities (Scherzer and Porcello) will pitch in the spacious Comerica Park. This will most benefit Scherzer, who has a propensity to give up the long ball. Long fly balls that are homers in New York generally nestle into the glove of Austin Jackson in Detroit.

The Tigers have been one of the hottest teams in baseball since the trade deadline. They have the best pitcher in the game, not to mention the best first baseman, both of whom are likely top 3 MVP finishers. The Tigers also have the hottest closer and a lethal designated hitter.

This team is hungry and should beat the Yankees regardless of where home field advantage rests. In the preseason I predicted both of these squads to make the playoffs. Now that it has played out, I truly feel that the Tigers are the better team.

Look for the Tigers to win this series. I could see it being as easy as a sweep or as long as a full 5-game series. Whatever the case, playoff baseball is finally here, and all is right with the world.

  • Chris R

    Tigers were 16-7 against AL playoff teams including 6-1 against TB, 4-3 against NY, 6-3 vs Texas. Throw in a 2-1 record against AZ in inter league play, and we were 18-8 against playoff teams.

    Yankees were 9-10 against TB, 7-2 against Texas, 3-4 vs Detroit. I know yous guys aren’t so strong with the math as evidenced by your bloated payroll, but 16-7 vs 19-16 is a decided advantage in winning percentage.

  • Chris R

    I’m not smoking anything, however, the Tigers are getting ready to smoke the Yankees.

    I find it interesting that Yankee fans prime reason that they will succeed in these playoffs is “because we’re the Yankees”. Sound logic.

    In spite of using every small market team as their personal farm system, the Yankees have one ring in the last 10 years. That is just one better than the Tigers. You guys have great history, but Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, and Jackson aren’t suiting up.

  • http://twitter.com/isportsJoe Joe White

    Funny to see you Yankees fans getting all riled up. Seems like a case of a self-confidence issue to me. If you’re sleeping on the Tigers, you are sadly mistaken. Detroit and Texas are the best things going in the AL right now and will likely be the ALCS matchup.

  • Jimbob1945

    Chris R

    What are you smoking?

  • Jmralph1

    How many teams over 500 did the tigers beat in the month of September??? O I forgot they play in AL central (AKA the minor league division). Doug Fister has had a great second half I’ll give him that however how many teams did he beat that were actually contenders. Don’t get too amped up with number, and don’t forget that these are still the Yankees. Don’t underestimate them.

    • http://twitter.com/isportsJoe Joe White

      People that say what you are saying about Fister clearly haven’t seen him pitch. He has the nastiest stuff out there right now, Verlander included. He’s been nearly unhittable. I applaud your underestimation of the Tigers though. It will make victory that much sweeter.

  • Chris R


    Tigers fans have a keen sense of history. To wit, in 2006 the big bad Yankees were humbled 3-1 by the Tigers in their last playoff matchup. Yankees obviously appreciate history…look at your SP after CC and Nova. That’s a lot of history right there! Garcia got a turn with the Tigers a few years ago and he was lobbing 82 mph gas then. Colon or Burnett? Super solid backup plan there. Here’s a novel thought, why don’t you start throwing those $20 mil/yr contracts at someone who can actually pitch? What, all of a sudden your pursestrings got tight?

    One hot pitcher in a series is usually enough to put the pinstripes on mothballs early. Good luck against Verlander and Fister.

  • Jmralph1

    Does this guy actually believe what he writes lol 27 time
    World champions, biggest hitting machine on the planet and he’s making them sound like they are the orioles. What happens of verlander loses game 1??? Lol

  • Chris R

    Yankee fans have no idea at what is about to happen to them. They have been living it up all season on the Red Sox woeful excuse of a pitching staff. CC is their only hope for a win. Nova in the postseason? Please…he had a nice season, let’s see how he performs once the playoff heat is turned up.

    I predict it is Game 3 of the series before the Yankees even get their 5th hit off Tigers starting pitching. Yes, I said that. Bronx Bombers will be rendered duds vs. Mr. Verlander and Mr. Fister. Welcome to a a world of pain and confusion, fellas.

    • donnybaseball03

      Verlander and Fister are both unproven in post season play.  I wouldn’t get too excited just yet.  I’m a Yankees fan and fear this match up but to count out Nova because he has no post season experience in favor of two studs that have little to no post season experience is a bit premature.  I hope for a 5 game series either way…  Go Yanks!

  • Mabm113

    …are you kidding me with this? 

  • Bertch

    Wow.  hahaha you must be kidding joe white

  • guest

    Dear Joe White,

    GO HOME.