Back Where We Started

On March 31st, the Yankees took on the Tigers at the Stadium on a cold and wet Opening Day. It was Verlander vs. Sabathia and the Yankees prevailed 6-3.

The Yankees used patience that day against Verlander. He stuck out eight over his six innings of work, but it took him 114 pitches to do it. His only mistake was a pitch that Mark Teixiera deposited into right and he left with the game tied at 3. The Yankees then scored three runs off the Tigers’ bullpen, highlighted by Curtis Granderson hitting a homer off of lefty Phil Coke, a sign of things to come.

Detroit is probably the worst first round opponent the Yankees could face. They have Verlander and he is going to pitch Games 1+5 now, but I am sure that would change if Detroit faced elimination in Game 4. Doug Fister, who has a 1.79 ERA since coming to Detroit, gets the ball in Game 2. Max Scherzer 4.43 ERA overall but 3.80 at home goes in Game 3. And for now, Rick Porcello is listed as the Game 4 starter.

Their bullpen will be the key to the series. They have impressive ERA’s, but they walk way too many hitters. Al Alburqueque has blown away hitters (13.9 K’s per 9) but also walked the ballpark (6 BB’s per 9). Their closer, Jose Valverde has been good, but he walks 4.2. Walks are going to kill Detroit because the Yankees will be happy to take them, they led the AL this year in that category.

And I think that is what proves to be Detroit’s undoing. I could see them wining tonight (bold prediction I know) but that bullpen is going to hurt them. I’m taking the Yankees in 4.

I’ll be up at the Stadium for tonight’s affair and will try and will post about it tomorrow.