Kuroda could be the key to the Yankees winning.
The Sabathia-Verlander duel carries even more significance because the remaining starters for each rotation are almost equal in strength.
Detroit will rely on Max Scherzer, Doug Fister and Anibal Sanchez, with Fister starting Game 1 for the Tigers.
Scherzer was great in his one start during the ALDS. He went 5.1 innings, allowed just three hits, one unearned run and struck out eight in a 4-3 loss.
Scherzer faced the Yankees during the regular season and he was less than stellar. He only allowed three runs, but he lasted just 4.2 innings and threw 119 pitches as he was bested by Sabathia.
The Tigers's Game 1 starter will be Fister, and he had a great game against Oakland. He went seven innings, allowed two runs and recorded eight strikeouts.
His one regular season appearance against New York was a solid performance, as he went 6.1 innings allowing just two runs. He failed to earn the win, though, as Joaquin Benoit allowed two home runs late in the game.
Sanchez rounds out the Tigers playoff rotation. Like the other three Detroit pitchers, he did very well against the A's. Allowing two runs over 6.1 innings, Sanchez was good enough to win, but Oakland's Brian Anderson was masterful as he shutdown Detroit, not allowing a run.
Sanchez had a game to forget in his sole start against New York during the regular season. He went just three innings and allowed seven runs.
This staff matches up well with the other Yankees starters.
New York has not announced who will be included in their ALCS rotation, but Andy Pettitte has been announced as the Game 1 starter. The other likely starters are Phil Hughes and Hiroki Kuroda.
Pettitte allowed three runs over seven innings in a 3-2 loss against Baltimore, but his value may come elsewhere. Detroit did not face Pettitte during the regular season, and Andy has a career 19-11 playoff record. He is the most experienced pitcher in the playoffs, and he is the perfect man to start the Yankees off right.
New York may have lost Game 4, 2-1, but Hughes could do no better. He makes a great playoff rotation guy as he allowed just one run over six innings in his start, and he outperformed Verlander during the season.
He helped the Yankees win as he went nine innings, allowing one run and sitting down eight batters. Add the fact that he held his own against Verlander, and that is another plus in favor of New York.
The Bronx Bombers' secret weapon, though, may be Kuroda. He was great in his Game 3 performance as he went 8.1 innings and allowed two runs.
Kuroda has some experience against Detroit as he faced them twice during the regular season. He went 1-1 in his two starts, and he only allowed two runs over seven innings in his first start. He will likely be the Game 2 starter, which would pair him with Sanchez.
If Kuroda can get the win, he will likely put the Yankees up 2-0 with CC starting Game 3. This would be a huge advantage, and it would put immense pressure on Verlander to perform, which could lead to his demise against Sabathia.