New York Yankees
The New York batting order was a treat for any manager in 2011.
From Derek Jeter in the leadoff spot, down to Brett Gardner at the bottom of the order, the Yankees are able to receive production from both ends of the lineup.
Robinson Cano has emerged as one of the purest hitters in modern baseball and has contributed yet another .300 plus season in the batting average column. Detroit should be no problem for him as he's hit .280 against them this season with four home runs.
Before a pitcher sees Cano, though, they have to get through the first four batters of the Yankees order. Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez make up one of the most lethal top of the orders in the majors.
Highlighted by its power production (they combine for 100 home runs), this lineup knows how to manufacture runs. They rank second in the majors in runs scored and first in home runs, making them a pitcher's nightmare.
As you make your way to the bottom of the order, the talent level is maintained.
Nick Swisher and Jorge Posada offer both threatening bats (although Posada's bat hasn't been attacking pitches like we're used to this year) and clubhouse leveling leadership. They are both able to hit from either side of the plate, and have keen senses for the dramatics, as we've seen from them this season.
Brett Gardner is an absolute terror on the basepaths, and he utilizes this gift by being a terror in the batter's box as well. He is disciplined at the plate, and is not afraid to take a walk; valuable traits that make Gardner one of the most difficult nine-hole hitters to face.
From top to bottom, New York's batting order gives opposing pitchers no room to breathe, and if it performs up to expectations, few pitching staffs will be able to contain it.
Detroit is also equipped with one of the best pure hitters in the game today. Miguel Cabrera has put up MVP caliber stats in 2011, posting an astounding .343 average with 30 home runs and 104 RBI, while hitting .417 against the Yankees. Any playoff run that is to be put together by the Detroit Tigers will be on the shoulders of Cabrera.
Following Cabrera in the order is catcher turned designated hitter Victor Martinez. Since becoming a DH, Martinez has been stellar with the wood. He's hit .324 with 102 RBI and has been a critical piece of the Tigers' offense this season.
Anchoring the lineup is Jhonny Peralta, Ryan Raburn and Brandon Inge. Peralta and Raburn possess a degree of power that greatly strengthens the bottom of the lineup and Inge's veteran bat can take the ball yard, or put him on base where he becomes a talented base runner.
The Tigers led the Central division in runs scored, batting average and home runs. Their four players with over 80 RBI give a clear idea of the kind of run production they'll look to generate in the postseason.
Advantage: New York Yankees