Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
The Tigers enter their series with the Yankees as slight underdogs, but by no means is anyone writing off the Tigers, and in some cases, they've become a popular pick to make, especially given the power at the top of their rotation, the middle of their order, and the back of their bullpen. This sort of mentality is what has many fans believing this is Detroit's series to lose. However, let's give credit where credit is due - the Yankees posted the best record in the American League, they have the second best offense in baseball (and while the Tigers are fourth, the Bronx Bombers are actually a half run better) including an MVP candidate of their own (former Tiger Curtis Granderson) and their ace/closer combination isn't bad either, with CC Sabathia and Mariano Rivera. For the Tigers, the key will be to get out to an early lead in the series - while Sabathia and rookie Ivan Nova are great, it's hard to argue that the Tigers don't have an advantage in the starters in both cases. The Tigers will need to capitalize on that opportunity. Ultimately, while I think the Tigers will get a split in New York, the Yankees' offense will be too much for the Tigers to handle, and they'll take the series in four games.
Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
We know the Yankees can mash. That's a given. Given recent results, the Tigers offense has been no slouch. If both offenses show up for this series, the pitchers -- particularly the starters -- could have their work cut out for them. I think it goes without saying at this point that this series comes down to the starting matchups. Game one will be a fantastic battle of two viable Cy Young Award candidates in Verlander and Sabathia. Verlander loves the big stage and as long as he can avoid being too amped up, he has the ability to shut down a potent offense such as the Yankees. I give a slight edge to the Tigers in game one. Matching up Ivan Nova and Doug Fister in game two gives the Tigers what I perceive to be another edge. Fister has been outstanding since joining the club at the end of July, and while Ivan Nova has turned in a campaign worthy of RoY consideration, I think Fister can do enough to pull out a game two victory for the club. In game three, the Tigers will go with the enigmatic Max Scherzer against Freddy Garcia, who managed to find a seat in the way-back machine this year. In all reality, this game is a coin flip going in, and I'll give the Yankees offense against Scherzer the edge. If things play out this way, the Tigers would be up 2-1 going into a game four, and Rick Porcello would likely face off with CC Sabathia on short rest. Even though it's short rest and the game would be at home for the Tigers, I don't think Porcello can remain consistent enough, long enough in this game to hold back the Yankee offense. Series tied 2-2. That leaves a game five with Justin Verlander going on full rest up against one of two scenarios for the Yankees, either the abomination that has become Bartolo Colon in the second half or Ivan Nova in a season where he's already logged a ton of innings. I'll take that any day of the week. There isn't a pitcher in baseball I'd rather have on the hill in a must win game right now. Verlander wins two in the series, and the Tigers advance in five games. And just for fun, Rays in five over the Rangers.
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