Blog Entry

2011 ALDS matchup: Tigers vs. Yankees

Posted on: September 29, 2011 6:46 pm
Edited on: September 30, 2011 2:52 pm
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By Matt Snyder


After winning 95 games and taking home a division title for the first time since 1987, the Tigers get presented with the chance to take down the mighty Yankees, who had the best record in the American League. The Yankees, meanwhile, are in the playoffs yet again -- as they have been every year except 2008 since the '94 strike. But this isn't a mismatch. Far from it. It's a battle of two titans. I fully expect this to be the most exciting divisional series.

TEAM INFORMATION

Detroit Tigers (host games 3, 4)
95-67, AL Central champions
Manager: Jim Leyland
Team batting statistics: .277 batting average (3rd in AL), .340 on-base percentage (3rd), .434 slugging percentage (4th)
Team pitching statistics: 4.04 ERA (7th), 1.32 WHIP (8th), 2.27 K/BB (6th)
Star player: SP Justin Verlander -- 24-5, 2.41 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 250 K in 251 innings.

New York Yankees (host games 1, 2, 5)
97-65, AL East champions
Manager: Joe Girardi
Team batting statistics: .263 batting average (5th in AL), .343 on-base percentage (2nd), .444 slugging percentage (3rd)
Team pitching statistics: 3.58 ERA (8th), 1.32 WHIP (9th), 2.41 K/BB (4th)
Star player: CF Curtis Granderson -- .262/.364/.552, 41 HR, 119 RBI, 136 R, 26 2B, 10 3B, 25 SB

SCHEDULE (Click here to view the entire postseason schedule)
Full Playoff Coverage
Game 1: DET @ NYY, Sept. 30, 8:37 p.m. ET. Verlander (24-5, 2.40**) vs. CC Sabathia (19-8, 3.00)
Game 2: DET @ NYY, Oct. 1, 8:37 p.m. ET. Doug Fister (11-13, 2.83) vs. Ivan Nova (16-4, 3.70)
Game 3: NYY @ DET, Oct. 3, 8:37 p.m. ET. Max Scherzer (15-9, 4.43) vs. Freddy Garcia (12-8, 3.62)
Game 4: NYY @ DET, Oct. 4* Rick Porcello (14-9, 4.75) vs. Sabathia (19-8, 3.00)
Game 5: DET @ NYY, Oct. 6* Verlander (24-5, 2.40) vs. Nova (16-4, 3.70)

* If necessary | ** all pitching matchups projected

TEAM BREAKDOWN (Click player name for statistics)

Catcher
Detroit: Alex Avila
New York: Russell Martin

Martin's been a very pleasant surprise for the Yankees this season, giving them 18 homers and a .732 OPS. The former All-Star had just been given up on by the Dodgers, so most of these numbers were gravy. Of course, Avila's been even better and just as surprising. He hit 19 homers with an .895 OPS and was incredibly durable. He may even garner some MVP votes (voters list 10 names, remember).

Advantage: Tigers

First base
Detroit: Miguel Cabrera
New York: Mark Teixeira

The Yankees wouldn't lose a battle of first basemen very often, but they do here. Teixeira finished the season with 39 homers and 111 RBI, but he only hit .248. He is the superior defender here, but Cabrera is so much better offensively (.344/.448/.586 with 30 homers, 105 RBI and 48 doubles) that it more than makes up for it. This one is close, but it's not a question. It's elite versus very well above average.

Advantage: Tigers

Second base
Detroit: Ryan Raburn/Ramon Santiago
New York: Robinson Cano

The Tigers have used six different players at second base this season and the Yankees have arguably the best second baseman in baseball. This is a blowout.

Advantage: Yankees

Shortstop
MLB Video

Detroit: Jhonny Peralta
New York: Derek Jeter

Jeter is not bad, but he's 37 and his best days are far in the rearview mirror. His 3,000th hit was one of the best moments of the 2011 season and he very clearly has the far better career, but Peralta is the better player in the present tense. He hit .299 with 21 homers, 86 RBI, 68 runs and an .824 OPS. Jeter hit .297 with six homers, 61 RBI, 84 runs and a .743 OPS. Does Jeter's "Yankee mystique" and "clutchness" carry the day here? That remains to be seen, but for now we have to go with tangibles.

Advantage: Tigers

Third base
Detroit: Wilson Betemit
New York: Alex Rodriguez

Betemit's done an admirable job since being acquired by the Tigers, as he's hit .292/.346/.535. That's actually better than A-Rod's .276/.362/.461, but there's little question -- even among A-Rod's many haters -- who the better player is here. As long as he can stay healthy, which is a big question, Rodriguez gives the Yankees an advantage here.

Advantage: Yankees

Left field
Detroit: Delmon Young
New York: Brett Gardner

Young has provided decent power for the Tigers since coming over (eight homers and a .458 slugging percentage in 40 games) from the Twins, but he still makes a lot of outs (.298 OBP). While Gardner doesn't provide much power, he's one of the best defensive players in baseball in addition to being one of the biggest threats on the basepaths (49 stolen bases). And he gets on base at a .345 clip.

Advantage: Yankees

Center field
Detroit: Austin Jackson
New York: Curtis Granderson

Jackson is a better defensive player, but not by leaps and bounds. That phrase could be used to describe the difference in the two players offensively at this point, though. Granderson was one of the premier power hitters this season and his .916 OPS dwarfs Jackson's .690.

Advantage: Yankees

Right field
Detroit: Magglio Ordonez
New York: Nick Swisher

It was a big blow for the Tigers to lose Brennan Boesch for the season, as he could fit here or left field and give them an advantage. Then again, is Magglio "back?" He's hitting .419/.444/.558 in September and looks to have a spring in his step. Maybe it's his last big run (he's 37) as he seeks his first ring. Still, Swisher is still a great on-base guy (.374) with power (30 doubles, 23 homers).

Advantage: Yankees

Designated Hitter
New York: Jesus Montero/Andruw Jones/Jorge Posada
Detroit: Victor Martinez

Martinez hit .330 with an .850 slugging percentage and 103 RBI in 145 games. Even if Montero or Jones gets hot, this isn't even close (at least not yet, as we've only scratched the surface on Montero's immense potential).

Advantage: Tigers

Starting pitching
Detroit: Justin Verlander, Doug Fister, Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello
New York: CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Freddy Garcia

Fister (8-1, 1.79 ERA since joining the team) puts the Tigers over the top here. Otherwise it would just be one ace on each team with a group of also-rans. You can give credit for Ivan Nova's 16-4 record if you want, but give most of that to his teammates. His ERA is worse than Garcia's. Nova and Garcia is a better duo than Scherzer and Porcello, but, again, Fister's in there. There are only a handful of pitchers I'd rather have in the postseason than Sabathia. Unfortunately for the Yankees, Verlander is one of them. But hey, at least we get treated to an amazing Game 1 matchup here, right? Everyone should tune in for that one.

Advantage: Tigers

Relief pitching
Detroit closer: Jose Valverde
New York closer: Mariano Rivera

Al Alburquerque is one of the best relief pitchers in baseball, but David Robertson is better. Rivera is better than Valverde. The Yankees are a bit deeper, too, as they've gotten good work from Luis Ayala and Cory Wade -- and Rafael Soriano still has a huge amount of talent. He actually had eight straight scoreless outings before a bad one to close the year. 

Advantage: Yankees

Total advantage: Yankees (6), Tigers (5)

PREDICTION (click here to see full postseason predictions)
CBS Experts
Evan Brunell: Tigers in 4
Gregg Doyel: Tigers in 5
Danny Knobler: Yankees in 5
Scott Miller: Tigers in 5
Trent Rosecrans: Tigers in 5
Matt Snyder: Tigers in 5
Matt's take: This is a complete toss up. When submitting my predictions, I actually had the Yankees in five and going all the way to the World Series. Right before I clicked "send" on my email, I changed my mind. Some of it was a gut feeling, but the rest of the thought process went like this: I like the Tigers to get the first two on the strength of great starting pitching. It's entirely possible the Yankees take the next two, in fact likely, but then they'd have to face Justin Verlander with Ivan Nova as the opposing starter in Game 5. Again, nothing would surprise me in this series, though. If I was asked to place a wager on either team, I wouldn't do it. I'm not confident in any outcome here. As I said in the intro, this very much promises to be the best divisional series and if you told me to give you the three best teams, two of them are right here (along with the Phillies). Whoever wins this series is automatically my favorite in the ALCS and maybe even the World Series.

More Yankees-Tigers ALDS coverage

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Comments
hotmeuly
Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 20, 2011 9:51 am
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peulouy
Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 18, 2011 2:22 am
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 7, 2011 4:55 pm
 

2011 ALDS matchup: Tigers vs. Yankees

Literally special weblog. I am for this reason researching toward reading through considerably more reports.



Since: Apr 11, 2011
Posted on: October 1, 2011 12:15 am
 

2011 ALDS matchup: Tigers vs. Yankees

I think that Jose Valverde gives the Tigers an advantage at closer. The man went 49 - 49 this season.



Since: Apr 18, 2009
Posted on: September 30, 2011 3:58 pm
 

2011 ALDS matchup: Tigers vs. Yankees

Hmm. Pro Sports. And now the most wonderful time of the year. Football, Basketball (?), Hockey, Soccer, anything the combat sports have to offer, and of course October baseball.
      I agree this series is close, but I give Detroit the edge, as most of the key players for Detroit are in their primes, and some of the Yankees are on their downhill side of their careers. Also, whatever moves Girardi has to offer, I see Leyland toying with him, as others have in the past. The Yankee bats will not bail Girardi out here, remember the silent bats versus the Rangers last year? Well... I think Scherzer is as good as Fister, and Verlander is off the charts. Point is the Detroit rotation is ready for anything. That is all that needs to be said about the vaunted Yankee line-up. So it is on the Yankee line-up to keep up, and deal with that Detroit line-up. Sabathia ? He is a competitor, yes, but Detroit seems to have his number. So it all boils down to Nova and Garcia. Looking at it this way, it's not even close, as Nova and Garcia have terrible ERA's, and their records are a result of the Yankee runs this year. The only thing is the Yankees won the American League East, and that says a lot.
     What I really think is the difference, though, is Detroit is always stoked to play the pin-stripes...always. To get Ordonez, Inge, Cabrera, Martinez ready for bear, on Nova and Garcia is not a pretty sight. They do the same with Sabathia, but he is showing heart in recent post seasons. In a short series or long series, I think Detroit has a punchers chance of a knockout, or they can last longer should games go into extras.
      Look for Leyland to pull some moves should it be that close, to set up other counter moves on Girardi and company. this part should be fun. It usually is with a good old time manager like Leyland.
      BTW I will not let A-Rod off the hook. He played OK in the field 2 years ago, but I believe he is still mister mistake in the field and basepaths when it comes down to clutch situations.
      Lets see how they all fair under pressure again. One championship in ten years is not Yank numbers, even with loaded rotations and line-ups. Hopefully Detroit becomes as much of a nemesis as Anaheim has in the past post seasons to the Yankees.



Since: May 29, 2009
Posted on: September 30, 2011 3:38 pm
 

2011 ALDS matchup: Tigers vs. Yankees

hahaha are they serious.....Detroit has 1 SP thats it Porcello Fister and Scherzer are going to get destroyed and if Verlander dont win tmrw the series is over.
magica,

did you know Detroit starters NOT named Verlander are 4-1 against the Yankees this year???  also, did you know our #2 pitcher had a better ERA and WHIP than the Yankees ace CC Sabbathia???

exactly how does Detroit have ONE starting pitcher, when we have 2 with better numbers than your "ace"???  Does that mean the Yankees have no pitchers???

I love the blind homer fans who talk without any knowledge of the game.  I especially like how if Detroit loses tomorrow -- The series is over.  Did you know Detroit lost game 1 to NY in 2006???  Detroit won the next 3 games.  Did you know the last 4 game series Detroit/NY played this year -- Detroit lost the 1st game and then won the next 3 games.

quit embarassing the yankees fan base who actually know the game.  it is going to be a series that goes down to the end and it is a toss up on who wins.  personally -- whoever wins this series, i think is going to represent the AL in the world series.  just so happens the team with the best record for the year and the hottest team in baseball over the last two months ended up having to face each other in the 1st round. 



Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: September 30, 2011 2:08 pm
 

2011 ALDS matchup: Tigers vs. Yankees

He says the Yankees bullpen is better than ours... Papa Grande hasn't blown a save all year.  I don't think you can get much better than that.  

You cant get better then that in the regular season. Lets see how he does in the post season before we rank him ahead of Rivera. We've seen many great regular season closers blow up in the playoffs.



Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: September 30, 2011 2:05 pm
 

2011 ALDS matchup: Tigers vs. Yankees

Remember Yankee fans.........the Detroit Tigers have NEVER lost to the Yankees in postseason play.

Would you bet your life on that dopey? The Yankees won game 1 in 2006... 



Since: Dec 18, 2007
Posted on: September 30, 2011 10:39 am
 

2011 ALDS matchup: Tigers vs. Yankees

Is Leyland allowed to mange both teams?  Seems like a conflict of interest to me. Foot in mouth



Since: Jul 21, 2007
Posted on: September 30, 2011 10:02 am
 

2011 ALDS matchup: Tigers vs. Yankees

Amazing the Yankees bullpen is better but no mention is given to the Tigers Benoit, who for much of the season has been unhittable and a perfect set up for Valverde. Also, Coke has refound himself in the bullpen, and except for getting knocked around a bit in a game last week, he's been great out of the pen.

As for starting pitching, Doug Fister will not crumble. This guy has been hotter than Verlander since Detroit picked him up. He doesn't give up a lot of long balls and has a knack for limiting opposing team scoring. I've said it before, and maybe this series more than any time this year will show how Fister will dominate in upcoming years. I believe he's on the cusp of establishing himself as one of the best starting pitchers throughout baseball. He and Verlander will make Detroit strong to repeat in the Central next year. He's big, he's seasoned. Perhaps the only thing he hasn't faced is post-season pressure. So, we'll see how he handles that.

Yankees offense is clearly formidable, but the adage of good pitching beats good hitting is true. I won't be a "homer" and say Detroit will sweep the Yanks, because this will be a close series. However, I give Detroit the edge. It should be a great series.


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