Schedule (best of seven)
• Today: Detroit at New York, 7:07 p.m. (TBS)
• Sunday: Detroit at New York, 3:07 p.m. (TBS)
• Tuesday: New York at Detroit, 7:07 p.m. (TBS)
• Wednesday: New York at Detroit, 7:07 p.m. (TBS)
• Thursday: New York at Detroit,* 3:07 p.m. (TBS)
• Oct. 20: Detroit at New York,* 7:07 p.m. (TBS)
• Oct. 21: Detroit at New York,* 7:15 p.m. (TBS) *if needed
The Yankees struggled to get their attack going against Baltimore, but this is a club that led the league in home runs, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. So that figures to change. The Tigers counter with the game’s best three-four combo in Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. Still, Advantage: Yankees.
This is one of the Tigers two big Achilles’ heels. They might be the league’s worst fielding team. The Yankees aren’t great, but they make the routine plays and rarely beat themselves. Advantage: Yankees.
Both teams needed their ace to win the decisive fifth game in the previous round. That hurts the Yankees more than the Tigers because their series went one day longer, which means CC Sabathia might pitch only one game unless he goes on short rest. Detroit ace Justin Verlander can pitch the third and, if necessary, the seventh game on full rest. The rest of the Tigers’ rotation is also better. Advantage: Tigers.
The Tigers’ shaky bullpen nearly let the Oakland series slip away. The Yankees don’t have Mariano Rivera, but Rafael Soriano and David Robertson head a solid group. If it turns into a bullpen battle, then big Advantage: Yankees.
This is not a great Yankees’ club. Even so, those of us who tracked the AL Central all year know the Tigers are loaded with warts — particularly on defense and it the bullpen. If it goes seven, the edge goes to a rested Verlander. But here’s saying: Yankees in six.
| Bob Dutton, email@example.com