The New York Yankees (97-65) host the Detroit Tigers (95-67) and the Texas Rangers (96-66) host the Tampa Bay Rays (91-71) in the American League Divisional Playoff starting today.
I’m picking the Yankees in four games and the Rangers in four games.
In the Yankees/Tigers matchup, Justin Verlander had an outstanding year for Detroit and will win the Cy Young Award after going 24-5, 250 strikeouts, 57 walks, an earned run average of 2.40 and a no-hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays.
The number that concerns me though is that the Tigers failed to win in the two games he started against the Yankees. Verlander pitched relatively well, giving up only three runs in six innings each time, but the bottom line is that Detroit couldn’t beat the best team in the American League this season with their ace on the mound.
The Yankees have a strong offensive balanced attack led by Robinson Cano (.302, 28 HR, 118 RBIs), Derek Jeter (.297), Alex Rodriguez (.276, 16 HR, 62 RBIs), Curtis Granderson (41 HR, 119 RBIs) and Mark Teixeira (.248, 39 HR, 111 RBIs), and should get by Detroit with their sub-par pitching, because don’t forget after Verlander, the Tigers don’t have much either.
As much as I like the Yankees’ offense, I don’t like the Rays’ offense. Evan Longoria hits with power, Casey Kotchman has average, and B.J. Upton has speed, but Tampa Bay struggled offensively this season, only scoring 707 runs, the least in the American League East, and the least among all playoff teams. C.J. Wilson, Derek Holland and Colby Lewis might not be considered your go-to ace, but I feel they learned enough from Cliff Lee in their World Series appearance in 2010 to at least get by the Rays.
Tags: alex rodriguez, c.j. wilson, colby lewis, curtis granderson, derek holland, derek jeter, detroit tigers, justin verlander, mark teixeira, New York Yankees, robinson cano, tampa bay rays, texas rangers