Keys to the Yanks-Tigers ALDS

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The last time the Yankees and Tigers met in the playoffs was 2006. That year, the Yankees were heavily favored in the ALDS after trading at the deadline for Booby Abreu and Corey Lidle, who would soon be killed in a tragic plane crash. Jim Leyland and the Tigers had other ideas and went on to win the series 3-1 on their way to eventually losing in the World Series to the Cardinals.

So what are the keys to the upcoming American league Division Series?

1. Justin Verlander, Justin Verlander, Justin Verlander! This Tiger’s Ace is a lock for the Cy Young award this year when he led the American league in Wins, Strike outs and ERA.  He will start game 1 and a potential game 5 for the Tigers.  The Tigers need him to shut down the Yankees in game 1 and take the NY crowd out of the game. Check out his numbers here:

Wins (Blue), Losses (Orange), Strikeouts (Green)

2. A-Rod needs to be the A-Rod of the 2009 playoffs.  This cannot be emphasized enough.  With A-Rod hitting well, opposing pitchers cannot pitch around Robinson Cano, who is having an MVP type season.  If A-Rod has a tough series, the Yankees are beatable.

3.  The Yankees bullpen must continue to dominate.  After CC Sabathia, the Yankees starting staff is iffy at best.  Ivan Nova has had a great year, but is a rookie.  Freddy Garcia will start game 3 for the Yankees, and if he gives them 5 good innings the Yankees will gladly take that and hand the game over to Robinson, Soriano, Logan and Rivera. 

This is what the whole season was for, the injuries, the slumps, the highs and the lows.  You really cannot script October, but the Yankees should take this series.  Prediction: Yankees in five.

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