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Tigers at Yankees – Free Pick Game One ALCS

Detroit Tigers +125 at New York Yankees -133 (Total: 8) – ALCS Game One

Doug Fister vs. Andy Pettitte

My heart goes out to all you Washington National fans.  I grew up in Cincinnati, and watching the Reds bleed away a 2-0 lead and fall to the Giants was rough… but nothing like what Nats fans endured last night.  Once again, the St. Louis Cardinals – like zombies or some other mythological scourge – were dead and buried.  They were DONE.  And somehow they climb off the mat and survive.

Like zombies, you have to shoot ‘em twice.  The Nats didn’t.

For the fourth time in two postseasons, the Cards were ONE STRIKE away from the end of their season.  One World Series trophy is already in the case, and they are playing on this season as well.  Frankly, it’s the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen in baseball, so congrats to the Cards; and Nats fans, my sympathies – it’s going to be a LONG offseason…

On to tonight’s American League Championship series…

I’m excited for this matchup, and I guarantee you TBS is as well.  What was very nearly Oakland v. Baltimore is instead Yankees vs. Detroit, and I expect the drama and quality, as well as the TV ratings, to be very high.  Both the Tigers and Yankees had to throw their aces in Game Five of the ALDS to survive, so we won’t get the CC v. Verlander treat to open, but I expect both will e able to go in Game Three (and Game Seven, if needed).   However, Doug Fister vs. the ageless Andy Pettitte is pretty good too.

The Yankees have won six of ten against Detroit in 2012, however for much of the season the Tigers looked a little languid.  The past four weeks they have played more like the team many expected to still be standing in mid-October.  The Tigers batted a ridiculous .264 as a team this season and averaged close to five runs a game (4.72).   The Yankees were nearly as good, hitting .259 as  team, and scoring even more runs, at 4.98 per game.   I expect both teams to get on the scoreboard and put up some runs to set the tone for an exciting series.

Everyone wants to talk A-Rod right now; will he play or won’t he? Will he be pinch-hit for?  Where is his psyche?  The real QUESTION should be, “where did EVERYONE go??”  The bats were somnambulistic in the Oriole series, scratching out just eight runs in their last four games.  They will need to get more offense, not just from A-Rod, in order to out-slug this Tiger lineup.

The good news for the Yankees?  As good as the Tigers have been offensively, they have been significantly less effective against left-handed pitching.  Their team average is nearly 30 points lower, just .247, and they average nearly one run LESS per game (4.04).  The Yankees happen to have a lefty starter tonight… and he happens to be the winningest pitcher in the history of postseason baseball!

I like the Yankees in the Bronx tonight, though I am leaning Detroit overall in the series.  This is a huge game for both teams, but I think it is a little bigger for the Yankees.  If they drop the opener at home, with two starts from Justin Verlander still looming, the pressure gets heavy quickly.  I think they play a good ballgame at home, and that Pettitte delivers yet another postseason gem, collecting his record-extending 20th postseason win in the process.

Free Pick:  New York Yankees to WIN -130