Being Optimistic, Thinking of Detroit Tigers in Postseason

Matt WallaceContributor IOctober 4, 2009

ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 24:  Pitcher Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers throws apitch against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on August 24, 2009 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

I’d imagine you may run into some negative Nancys over the next couple of days who will say it won’t matter if the Tigers win against the Twins on Tuesday. They'll say a win will just mean they get the honor of getting steamrolled by the Yankees

I have no use for this type of thinking, as you may have guessed since I'm endeavoring to consider the Tigers winning on Tuesday. After all, do the Tigers have any worse chance than they did in 2006? 

I used this positive thinking to consider the Tigers' playoff rotation and I was encouraged by what I found. If the Yankees choose to go with the eight-day schedule, a right they have as the American League team with the best record, the Tigers will be able to line up their rotation like this: 

Game One (10/7) - Edwin Jackson
Game Two (10/9) - Justin Verlander
Game Three (10/11) - Rick Porcello
Game Four (10/12) - Edwin Jackson
Game Five (10/14) - Justin Verlander

If the Yankees opt for the seven-day schedule, the Tigers would likely go with this rotation: 

Game One (10/8) - Edwin Jackson
Game Two (10/9) - Justin Verlander
Game Three (10/11) - Rick Porcello
Game Four (10/12) - Nate Robertson
Game Five (10/14) - Justin Verlander

Either way, the Tigers will be able to get Verlander in for two games if the series goes five games. That’s the most important thing for the Tigers to have a shot at beating the Yankees. 

I realize you may be thinking the series may not get to five games. Remember this. Regardless of whether Verlander pitched in Game One or Game Two, the Tigers would need to grab a win in a non-Verlander start. I'm pretty sure the Yankees have lost to worse pitchers than Jackson and Porcello this season.

The question now is which schedule the Yankees will choose. If they go with the eight-day schedule, they can stick with three starters. If they go with the seven-day schedule, they can feast on Nate Robertson or whomever the Tigers would choose as their fourth starter.

It’s an interesting dilemma for the Yankees. The eight-day schedule may play to their own strengths, but it’s also the most favorable arrangement for the Tigers. The seven-day schedule exposes a Tiger weakness, but it may well expose the same weakness for the Yanks—a vulnerable fourth starter. 

What I’m about to say may sound crazy since the Yankees finished the season with 103 wins and the Tigers are going to Minnesota for a play-in game in the worst division in the majors. I’m going to say it anyway.

If the Tigers beat Minnesota on Tuesday, I like their chances in that first round. I’m not saying they’re going to win. I’m not saying they’re the favorites. I’m just saying I could see them pulling off another first round upset. 

Go ahead. Call me crazy. I’ll be too busy worrying about Tuesday to care.