Yankees/Tigers – ALCS Preview
The two teams with the best uniforms in baseball square off in the American League Championship Series for the right to go to the World Series. The Yanks haven’t been to the Fall Classic since they beat in the Phillies in six games in 2009. Meanwhile, Detroit is looking to return for the first time since 2006 when it lost to St. Louis. Here is a breakdown of what should be a wonderful series:
Why the Yankees will win: Jeter, Ichiro and starting pitching
You need a team to win any team sport. But look at the big time performances by Derek
Jeter and Ichiro in the ALDS against Baltimore. Jeter had 8 hits, 2 RBI and a .364
batting average and played a magnificent shortstop for all games but one. Ichiro was
a ninja the whole series and provided a spark in the field, on the bases and at the plate
with key hits, including his RBI double early in Game 5. In the meantime, the starting
pitching has come together and for the first time in a long time, the Yanks have a staff
that can match the Tigers’ mighty arms with CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda
and Phil Hughes.
Why the Tigers will win: Best pitcher and best hitter
Justin Verlander is nearly unhittable and has about six pitches. He is the best pitcher in
baseball, arguably, this time of year. Miguel Cabrera is the best hitter in the game and
proved as much this year by winning baseball’s Triple Crown. Plus, he hits in the clutch
time and again. These two by themselves are a handful and can overwhelm any team,
including the Yanks.
Yankee x-factor: Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira
If the Yanks don’t hit with runners in scoring position, forget about it. The only reason
why the Yankees beat the Orioles is because Baltimore couldn’t drive people in either.
Alex Rodriguez is a non-factor, as is Nick Swisher. Curtis Granderson has done nothing
other than the Game Five homer over Baltimore. It is up to Cano and Tex to do the
heavy lifting with the likes of Jeter and Ichiro on base or this one could get ugly in a
hurry for New York.
Tiger X-factors: Doug Fister and Jose Valverde
Fister starts the series in Game One and provides the pitching depth after Justin
Verlander. He throws hard, moves the ball around and can go deep into games. He is
important for Detroit. Valverde, the often-unreliable closer, has been known to blow
games. If the Tigers have a one-run lead in any game, the spotlight shines on Jose as an
x-factor who has to come through for Motown.
The pick: Tigers in 6
The starting pitching is too deep and the middle-of-the-order guys, Prince Fielder and
Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera, will come through in the clutch more than the
Yankee middle-of-the-order and send Detroit to the Fall Classic to face the Giants or