OK, we know that the Yankees handled the Tigers this regular season – New York went 5-2 against them.
And, we know that the Yankees (as a team) can out-hit the Tigers on almost any given day. And, we know that the Tigers are just 36-38 since the All-Star break.
However, over the last two months, Justin Verlander and Jeremy Bonderman have not been pitching well for the Tigers. This means that Nate Robertson and Kenny Rogers are the big hopes now for Motown. (Yeah, Kenny Rogers.)
On offense, Carlos Guillen and Magglio Ordonez have been swinging hot bats for the Tigers. Other than that, everyone else on Detroit can probably be pitched to at this moment.
Actually, Guillen scares me – it always seems like he’s getting a big hit for the Tigers. (And, back to the pitching-side, the Tigers Joel Zumaya scares me a bit in this series too.)
I know that some might see this match-up as the 2003 World Series all over again – facing a young and care-free rags to riches team, with pitchers that throw hard, and they play in a big ballpark, with crafty manager, etc.
But, the Marlins in 2003 were peaking towards the World Series. The Tigers limped into the post-season.
Let’s face it – the Yankees should win this ALDS in four games. New York knows it. Now, they just have to do it. And, it starts with winning Game One. If the Yankees lose Game One, they could be in a 1-2 hole heading into Game Four – with Wright starting for New York. That’s not good.
The Yankees need to win two of the first three games in this ALDS in order to be in a position to win the series in four games. Since Randy Johnson is slated to start Game Three, this means Wang and Mussina need to win at least one game – probably two. If they don’t, well, just imagine what will happen in New York if the Yankees lose this ALDS to the Tigers.