Tigers at Yankees – Free Pick Game Two ALCS

Detroit Tigers +122 at New York Yankees -132 (Total: 8.5)

Anabel Sanchez vs. Hiroki Kuroda

Another playoff game, another insane finish.  Anyone who turned off the TV (or left Yankee Stadium) with the Yankees trailing 4-0 and looking dead missed out on another October classic.  Another two-out game-saving homerun from 40-year old Raul Ibanez, and it looked like yet another Yankee miracle.  However the magic ran out in the 12th, when the Tigers scored two runs and more importantly, Derek Jeter was carried off the field after injuring his ankle.

The loss in Game One hurts.  The loss of The Captain, Derek Jeter, kills.  It will be interesting to see how the Yankees bounce back tonight in Game Two.  Their entire lineup has been scuffling; it isn’t just A-Rod, Granderson, Swisher, Cano and Texieria have all been awful.  In fact, other than the recent spark from Raul Ibanez and Ichiro, the only Yankee who anyone could argue was really hitting well was… yep, Derek Jeter.  Early reports are that his ankly isn’t “sprained” it’s “shattered” which means no Captain for the rest of the season.  Now the biggest question is just how long that “season” will remain…

The Tigers give the ball to Anabel Sanchez, who has pitched well of late.  The midseason acquisition from the Marlins struggled at first, but over his last nine starts, eight of them have been great.  In fact, he has allowed one or fewer runs in five of them, and has allowed more than three runs and lasted less than six innings only once.  Couple that recent success with the massive struggles in the Bronx offensively, and one has to like Detroit’s chances tonight.

The Yankees will counter with Hiroki Kuroda, who was the Yankees best pitcher for most of the season, has looked very hittable since August.  He has thrown more than a few quality starts, but hasn’t shut anyone down in a while.  He has allowed at least two runs in nine consecutive starts, but hasn’t allowed more than four in any of them.  That tells me the Tigers will get a few runs, but likely not break the game wide open.

This feels like a game where the Tigers will take a one or two run lead into the seventh or eighth inning.  That’s pretty standard fare for both teams in the playoffs.  The Yankees have scored nine runs through six games in the first seven innings of games.  Yet they are still alive and kicking, and it’s because they’ve  tallied 14 runs in the eighth or later.  The Tigers starting pitching has been amazing, but closer Jose Valverde has been bringing a gas can out to the mound all postseason.  I can’t imagine Leyland gives him the ball in the ninth again tonight, which will put some pressure on Dotel and Albuquerque to continue to pitch well, only now with some closeout pressure on their shoulders.

I like both starters, apparently much more than Vegas does, as the 8.5 run total is very high for a postseason game, especially with two solid starters and a scuffling Yankee offense.  My official pick tonight is UNDER 8.5.  I also like the Tigers to win tonight, and must admit I am drawn to plus-money wagers as long as the pitching matchup is even, given the way this postseason has unfolded.

Free Picks:  Run TOTAL UNDER 8.5 (-110)  &  Detroit Tigers to WIN +122

Chris Scheeren / Author