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October 02, 2006

Tigers-Yankees 2006 ALDS Preview

OK, we know that the Yankees handled the Tigers this regular season - New York went 5-2 against them.

And, we know that the Yankees (as a team) can out-hit the Tigers on almost any given day. And, we know that the Tigers are just 36-38 since the All-Star break.

But, the Tigers do have some pitching on their side - and they can play defense with the best of them. And, remember, pitching and defense matter in the post-season.

However, over the last two months, Justin Verlander and Jeremy Bonderman have not been pitching well for the Tigers. This means that Nate Robertson and Kenny Rogers are the big hopes now for Motown. (Yeah, Kenny Rogers.)

On offense, Carlos Guillen and Magglio Ordonez have been swinging hot bats for the Tigers. Other than that, everyone else on Detroit can probably be pitched to at this moment.

Actually, Guillen scares me - it always seems like he's getting a big hit for the Tigers. (And, back to the pitching-side, the Tigers Joel Zumaya scares me a bit in this series too.)

I know that some might see this match-up as the 2003 World Series all over again - facing a young and care-free rags to riches team, with pitchers that throw hard, and they play in a big ballpark, with crafty manager, etc.

But, the Marlins in 2003 were peaking towards the World Series. The Tigers limped into the post-season.

Let's face it - the Yankees should win this ALDS in four games. New York knows it. Now, they just have to do it. And, it starts with winning Game One. If the Yankees lose Game One, they could be in a 1-2 hole heading into Game Four - with Wright starting for New York. That's not good.

The Yankees need to win two of the first three games in this ALDS in order to be in a position to win the series in four games. Since Randy Johnson is slated to start Game Three, this means Wang and Mussina need to win at least one game - probably two. If they don't, well, just imagine what will happen in New York if the Yankees lose this ALDS to the Tigers.

Posted by Steve Lombardi at October 2, 2006 10:10 AM

Comments

I used to be confident when the post-season started, now I'm scared and it doesn't matter if the Yanks were facing the Staten Island little leaguers because I'd still be scared.

I love this team BUT I can't see another early exit from the post-season. This is by far the best team the Yanks have sent to the post-season since 2002. They were highly favored to win it all that year. I'm glad you mentioned Zumaya because he could be this year's F-Rod.

At this point, I have a lot of respect for all teams that made it to the post-season. I like the Yankees chances, but I am cautiously optimistic.

Whatever happens, just make me proud New York Yankees. Play crisp baseball, play smart, play hard and have fun. That's the only thing they can control.

Good luck and let's remain positive. Most of all....remember how bad things looked this year when Scott Erickson was coming in to relieve, when T-Ball Long was sucking, when Sheff and Matsui went down, when Damon was hurt, Jeter's wrist was hurting, Cano's hammy, etc, etc. We have all seen everything that has gone down this year, this team overcame adversity and we have a well gelled team.

In the software industry all managers love it when all departments start to gel and produce a quality software release, however, when the teams don't gel then you have a product that's full of defects, the people involved are busy blaming everyone else, the schedule was too tight, etc, etc. Drawing parallels here, this Yankee team is a team that has gelled and has overcome special circumstances and they have managed to stand tall with the best record in baseball. They have a lot to be proud of, but their work isn't done and it's overtime; they have to find that extra energy and intensity needed to match the opponents this time of year.

Quite simply, this is New York Yankee baseball and this is why we watch and act all crazy throughout the season. We expect to be watching the games......let's go Yankees!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'll be watching and reading WasWatching after the games are done.....

Posted by: Garcia [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 2, 2006 11:32 AM

Well said.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 2, 2006 12:08 PM

For once, I think we agree on something ;-) Your thoughts on the Tigers echo mine, and I'm in the small minority that would rather be facing the Twins. But what can you do. One note though: in the same article in Baseball By the Numbers that you've been citing, they also point out that September performance has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on postseason performance. So this whole "the Tigers have been limping," angle is mostly irrelevant. If the Yanks get shut down in a couple of games by the excellent Tigers' bullpen, I don't think Yankee fans will continue to be confident because "they lost to the freaking Royals!" or something.

Posted by: mehmattski [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 2, 2006 12:23 PM

You can bet the house that, if the Tigers win the first two games of this series, they will care nothing about what happened to them in September, for sure.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 2, 2006 12:29 PM

If they don't, well, just imagine what will happen in New York if the Yankees lose this ALDS to the Tigers.
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It won't be any worse than 2004.

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 2, 2006 01:45 PM

Fair point.
But, 2004+2005+2006, if they lose in 2006, would be worse than 2004+2005+2006, if they win in 2006.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 2, 2006 01:59 PM

The only reason, I'm confident that we're going to beat up on these guys is that both Robertson and Bonderman are career 4.50-5.00 ERA guys who pitched WAAAY over their heads for the first half. Verlander and Zumaya may be scary. They are unknowns as rookies. Verlander may pull an Andy Pettitte and look great, but I'm not scared of any of these pitchers.

Yankees in 3. We win the 1st two at home with good pitching and a few homers into the bleachers. The third game features a decent Randy Johnson who holds Detroit to 3 runs over 5 innings, before giving way to Proctor for one, Farnsworth for one, and Mariano for two. Yanks win that game 5-3.

Posted by: Mike Plugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 2, 2006 06:40 PM