I hate….oh, covered that. This will count as my “legit” series preview. In typical SEMS style, I will do a positional breakdown. This will be easier since it’s only a 5 game series.
Who would have thought at the beginning of the year that the Tigers would hold such an advantage behind the plate? The Yankees have Russell Martin who had a good start, but wound up hitting .239, Hip, Hip, Jorge Posada who played in the first World Series, and Jesus Montero who is a young phenom. The Tigers have the All-Star starting, Silver Slugger winning (most likely), alliterative Alex Avila. He came into the season a question mark, and finished it as an exclamation point. If Avila needs a rest, the Tigers will turn to Victor Martinez. Yikes.
Mark Teixeira joins Carl Crawford as most disappointing player in the AL East for 2010. He hit his typical 39 homers with 111 RBI, but his average was .248. His career average is .281. He can get hot and turn a series on its head, so don’t dismiss him yet.
Miguel Cabrera led the majors in average and OBP. He also threw in 30 homers and 105 RBI. He will get MVP consideration, but will probably finish second….on his own team. Still only 28, he is just now entering his prime.
Here’s New York’s biggest advantage. Robinson Cano is a great, great player. He won the HR derby, hit .302, added 28 homers during the regular season, and plays aboverage defense. He is very good, obviously.
Detroit will counter with Raburn and Santiago. That is what Webster’s calls a drop off. You know the story. Raburn has pop, and is a streaky hitter. Razor Ramon plays solid defense, and has a little speed.
With mandatory steroid testing, Detroit wins in a landslide. Unfortunately Bud Selig cares more about money than silly things like integrity, historical context, and the health of his players.
Even with AROID, Betemit keeps this position close. He hit a 423 foot homer when Leyland was concerned about his knee. He has been a huge upgrade since he came from the Royals, and is on fire.
AROD has been injured most of the year, and hit .276 with 16 homers in 99 games. He is reportedly healthy, so who knows. He also is a known playoff-choker, so there’s that.
ADVANTAGE-NEW YORK (SLIGHTLY)
Derek Jeter is a first ballot hall of famer. He is “The Captain” and has more World Series rings than Magic Johnson has white blood cells. I get it. I don’t get why he’s hitting second on a playoff team. Reputations can be a dangerous thing in sports. He hit ok this year, but has been declining since the Clinton administration.
Jhonny Peralta has been the opposite. He has gotten better the last year and a half since arriving in Detroit. He beats Jetah in every important hitting statistic, and his range is twice as large as Jeter’s at this point. It isn’t even close at this point.
The Yankees have Gardner, Granderson, and Swisher. The Tigers have Young, AJAX, and Magglio. Uh oh…
Gardner is the leadoff hitter, who led the AL in steals and plays an incredible left field. He can change the complexion of a game with his speed in many ways.
Curtis Granderson is yet another MVP candidate playing in this series. I have been told, but cannot confirm, that he used to be a Tiger as well. 2011 was Grandy’s best season hitting .262 with 41 homers and 25 steals.
Swisher is an obnoxious Ohio State alum that once appeared on How I Met Your Mother. Strike Three! He is who he always has been. Middling average, good pop, horrendous defense. His teammates love his clubhouse demeanor which makes everyone else hate him. It’s the AJ Pierzinski syndrome.
The Tigers have another AL Central reclamation project in left. Delmon Young was once the top prospect in baseball. He was traded to Minnesota for Matt Garza, and never clicked up there. He has been a monster in Detroit however. He gives you Swisher production, except in left. He will smack a homer and allow a
Austin Jackson is enigmatic like a virgin cheerleader. He hit waaaaaay above his head last year, started slow this year, and picked it up in the second half. Who knows how he’ll hit in the playoffs. He plays the best defensive CF that I have seen this year, which is important at home.
Magglio, well he has come on lately. He too can carry a team when he’s on, but can also tweak a hammy putting his chapstick back in his pocket. Let’s hope for 2 more months of healthy-o.
NY will go with a 3 man rotation against Detroit. CC, Nova, and Freddy Garcia.
Detroit will counter that with Verlander, Fister, Scherzer, and Porcello.
Nuff Said. Verlander>Sabathia. Fister>Nova. Scherzer=Garcia (worst case due to his inconsistency.) Porcello=?. Verlander>anyone else.
Verlander twice and Fister once can get the 3 wins you need to advance. It really is that simple. Will the Yankees win a game or two. Yes. Will they beat Verlander twice? No. Will Nova outduel Fister? Doubtful.
The bullpens match up fairly evenly. Valverde and Benoit are equivalent to Rivera and Robertson. They both have decent mop up guys, and both can get left handers out. I am leaning towards giving NY the edge due to their playoff experience, but Valverde has been lights out this year. Hey, I haven’t copped out yet…
Joe Girardi is a player’s manager. He is one of the best managers in baseball. He uses his bullpen well, and lets his players play.
Jim Leyland finally found a lineup that works, so hopefully he doesn’t try to get too creative. He leaves his starters in too long on occasion, but with JV and Fister it may be a good strategy. He has shown a knack for making good decisions on pinch hitters late in the season, so hopefully that continues. He also has a ton of playoff experience with Pittsburgh, Florida, and Detroit.
Sorry, it’s a wash. I can’t find any discernible reason to favor one over the other.
New York is the team everyone thinks has a shot to win it all every year. Detroit had question marks up until August. New York has the biggest payroll in baseball. Detroit is 10th. The Yanks seem to choke at inopportune times. Detroit does also. Sigh…
I have to like Detroit’s chances. There is something to be said about having the best pitcher in baseball in a 5 game series. I like the Tigers. Wait…
I will take the Tigers in 5 games. JV wins twice, and Fister once. The Tigers will take on Texas in the ALCS.