ALCS Preview and Prediction: Yankees vs Tigers

This is a rematch of last season’s ALDS in which the Detroit Tigers bested the Yankees in five games. Of late the Tigers have seemed to have the Yankees number in the post season, depriving them of a World Series trip again in 2006. But do the Yankees have the Tigers figured out this time around?

The team’s similarities are startling, with their matchups at position being similar all the way around, with few exceptions. The Yankees have won the season series against the Tigers taking 6 out of 10 games played against them, and the majority of those victories being in Detroit. To understand, and thus come up with a way of giving one of these team’s the edge we’re going to have to dissect what they did respectively in the ALDS.

The Yankees offensive output in the ALDS left much to be desired, as they averaged less than 4 runs per game. The Yankees bats came up freezing cold with Alex Rodriguez taking the brunt of the flak for the Yankees lack of timely hitting. But Arod wasn’t their only problem, with the exception of Derek Jeter the Yankees’ lineup top to bottom all failed mightily at times. The Yankees pitching was their saving grace however, as every one of their starters put up gem like performances. The Yankees pitching rotation goes as so: CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda and Phil Hughes.

The Tigers had their own struggles in the ALDS when it came to finally overtaking the A’s until their game 5 showdown took place. As was the case with the Yankees, the Tigers big name batters didn’t do much of anything either. Both Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera went 9 of 41 in the entire series, with 1 home run and just 3 RBI’s between them. Also, the Tigers bullpen had their share of hiccups in the divisional round too, Jose Valverde was last season’s hottest closer this year he’s been an utter mess. Valverde has blown saves, given up hits and walks players seamlessly, if not for the Tigers strong starting pitching they’d be woeful. The Tigers starting pitching rotation is: Justin Verlander, Doug Fister, Max Scherzer and Anibal Sanchez.

The battle of the pitching aces between Sabathia and Verlander won’t take place till at least game 4, since both Sabathia and Verlander started in game 5 of the ALDS. Both Sabathia and Verlander come in pretty dead even having both given up just 4 hits in their dominating game 5 performances, and both pitched complete games. The series will be won in whichever team can get their notable names the hottest, there’s no way that either team will make it to a world series without one of their big guys not contributing.

The Yankees hold the homefield advantage in the series, which if you’re the Tigers could mean something as they’ve fared a lot better all season at home than on the road. Besides that slight advantage, if you can even call it that it’s hard to pick one team as a clear cut favorite. Overall, I’ll give the Yankees the pitching edge as they have the better starting pitching behind their ace than the Tigers do behind Verlander. In terms of who has the better aces, between Miguel Cabrera (a cold one at that) and an old Arod who was just benched, I’ll take Cabrera without even thinking. Manager edge is virtually a tie, with Girardi getting a slight nod from me because he’s prone to pulling tricks out of his sleeve ala the case of him pinch hitting Raul Ibanez who single handedly won game 4 for the Yankees.

The Tigers and Yankees ALCS series should give more offensive power than what was displayed in the ALDS. Hopefully, both team’s sleepy bats will have fully awakened and the RISP-fail won’t be a trending topic on twitter again.If I must pick one team to have a slight edge over the other I’ll go with the Yankees wrapping up the series in 6, before Verlander gets a chance for a second start and back in the Bronx.