In the middle of what was clearly the greatest hour of baseball this season (Yanks-Rays, Red Sox-O’s, Phillies-Braves), a final score from California provided some closure for those Tigers finally getting a final word for who their opponent would be in the ALDS. Much like in that magical 2006 season, the Tigers will open up their postseason run in Yankee Stadium against the Bronx Bombers.
The Tigers did not necessarily look pretty against the Yankees during the regular season, but those games came when the Tigers were arguably playing their worst baseball of the season. The team that opened the season in Yankee Stadium had a shaky pitching staff, was unsure of who their top catcher would be, and had a lineup that was essentially Cabrera plus eight other guys. If you think you have an idea of how this is going to play out – there’s a reason that they actually play the games.
What we do know is that we’re going to get a Verlander-Sabathia showdown in game one on Friday night in the Bronx – there’s no reason to believe that we won’t be seeing this pairing again in either game four or five. Those two will be followed the next night by a match-up that would have been unthinkable just a few weeks ago… Fister against Nova. Where the Tigers have the advantage in their starters, it is the Yankees lineup that may be giving them fits in this series.
The most dangerous member of that Yankees lineup may be a familiar face to Tigers fans. Curtis Granderson is having an absolutely world class season for the Yankees, having taken advantage of playing 81 games to that short right field porch. The postseason tends to bring out incredible storylines, and maybe it will be Austin Jackson making the case that the Tigers got the better end of that deal.
Both the Yankees and the Tigers have put up some incredible numbers this season, and thankfully there’s only one day that all of us will have to wait before this series. Even though the hunger level may “only” be 99% of where it was five years ago against the Yankees, the 2011 version is poised and built to succeed against any team in their path. It all starts on a late Friday evening in New York.