(95-67, AL Central Winner)
New York Yankees
(97-65, AL East Winner)
The New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers are all set to have at it in the ALDS starting on Friday night in the Bronx. Check out how our staff of MLB expert handicappers views this series!
Pitching Edge: These two pitching staffs both revolve around one man and one man only. It's fairly clear that the duel in Game 1 between Justin Verlander and CC Sabathia might be the only chance that the Tigers have of winning this series. Losing that game is going to be devastating at best, especially since Verlander is going to win the AL Cy Young Award by posting a whopping 24-5 record. We all know that Sabathia has the goods though, as 19-8 and a 3.00 ERA are nothing to bat an eyelash at. The question is what the rest of these rotations will look like. Ivan Nova, though he is a rookie, did win 16 games for the Yanks this year, and he is going to be the Game 2 pitcher. If the rook pitches like a vet, it's clear that New York has the edge here, as we have no confidence whatsoever in Doug Fister, Max Scherzer, and Rick Porcello, should Manager Jim Leyland go that deep into his rotation. We know if Detroit is facing elimination in Game 4, Verlander is pitching on three days of rest. In the bullpen, it's fairly clear that the Yankees are going to have the better back end, as David Robertson was one of the best 8th inning pitchers in the game this year, and Mariano Rivera is unflappable. Sure, there are some nice arms in the Detroit pen, but we just don't know if Joaquin Benoit, Phil Coke, and Al Albuquerque are going to get the job done, especially against this lineup. Jose Valverde was good this year, accounting for 49 saves, but he's no 'Mo. Advantage: New York
Lineup Edge: Just looking up and down the New York lineup is frightening to say the least. Averaging 5.35 runs per game and blasting a whopping 222 home runs was no mistake for the Bronx Bombers. Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson are going to vie for the league's MVP award this year, and Mark Teixeira "only" hit 39 home runs, including a granny in the last game of the regular season against the Tampa Bay Rays. Add to that veterans like Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Jorge Posada, and you've got a lineup that is just chock full of the right mix of guys to get the job done. It's not like Detroit's offense slacked off this year, as the team did finish in the Top 5 in the league in runs per game, batting average, and team OPS. However, once you get past the .344 batting average of Miguel Cabrera and the .330 batting average of Victor Martinez, there isn't a lot to be confident about in this team. There are sluggers for sure, as eight players hit at least 10 homers on the season, but it won't be enough to keep up with the Yanks in all likelihood. Advantage: New York
Series History: The Tigers are just 15-37 in their last 52 visits to the Big Apple, which is bad news, knowing that they have to take at least one game there to save their season. That being said, Detroit did win the season series 4-3, including taking three out of four at Comerica Park. However, this season series was over with in the first week of May. Detroit is 12-4 in its last 16 on the road, but the Yanks are 37-16 in their last 53 at home. The hosts are also 9-3 in their last 12 playoff games in the Bronx. Advantage: New York
New York Yankees vs. Detroit Tigers ALDS Schedule
Game 1 (Friday): Detroit Tigers (Justin Verlander) @ New York Yankees (CC Sabathia)
Game 2 (Saturday): Detroit Tigers (Doug Fister) @ New York Yankees (Ivan Nova)
Game 3 (Monday): New York Yankees (TBD) @ Detroit Tigers (TBD)
Game 4 (Tuesday, if nec): New York Yankees (TBD) @ Detroit Tigers (TBD)
Game 5 (Thursday, if nec): Detroit Tigers (TBD) @ New York Yankees (TBD)
New York Yankees vs. Detroit Tigers Pick: Simply put, we just have to go with the hosts in this one. The Yankees were the best team in American League for a good chunk of the season, and we know that if they can just take one game against Verlander with their ace on the mound, they probably won't be touched in this series.
MLB Playoffs Pick: New York Yankees in 4 Games