2011 ALDS Preview: 4 Reasons Detroit Tigers Will Knock Out New York Yankees

Manny Randhawa@@MannyBal9Correspondent IIISeptember 30, 2011

2011 ALDS Preview: 4 Reasons Detroit Tigers Will Knock Out New York Yankees

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    The Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees open up their best-of-five American League Division Series Friday night in the Bronx, where AL MVP candidate Justin Verlander will match up against Yankee ace CC Sabathia.

    Here are four reasons why the Tigers will knock out the Yankees and advance to the 2011 ALCS...

1. Justin Verlander in Game 1

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    While the debate has been hot throughout the second half of the regular season over whether a pitcher should be eligible for the league's Most Valuable Player award, Justin Verlander is focused on winning something entirely different: a series against the Yankees.

    Verlander has been nothing short of phenomenal in 2011, going 24-5 with a 2.40 ERA and 0.92 WHIP.

    Game 1 of the ALDS will be pivotal, as the series is a short one and whichever club takes the one-game-to-none lead is out to a great advantage, having to win two out of the next four to advance to the league championship series.

    Verlander's overpowering 100-mph-plus fastball will be a challenge even for the big-hitting Yankees, and for a starter that lost only five games in the regular season, his performance Friday night could give the Tigers a huge boost in the series.

2. Tigers Hitting .320 This Year Against CC Sabathia

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    Yankees ace CC Sabathia will be tasked with being Justin Verlander's counterpart in Game 1 of the ALDS, and not only will he be facing the likely AL Cy Young winner, but he will also face a Tigers squad that has hit him hard in 2011.

    In the regular season, Detroit hit .320 against Sabathia, tagging him for seven runs on 16 hits in 13 innings.

    The Tigers saw Sabathia well from the plate in the regular season, and if they continue to have success in Friday's opener, they have a great chance to take Game 1 with Verlander on their side.

3. Tiger Bats Hot, Yankee Bats Not

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    Over the past four weeks, the Tigers are hitting .310 and slugging .516. Over the past seven days, they're hitting .354 and slugging .624.

    The Yankees? Over the past four weeks, they've hit just .240. And over the last seven days, they hit just .209 as they were swept by the Rays before heading into the postseason.

    If this trend continues, it's a recipe for disaster for the Yanks.

4. Justin Veralnder in Game 5

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    If there should be a Game 5 in this series, you can bet that Justin Verlander will be on the hill for the Tigers.

    That factor, by itself, gives the Tigers a huge edge; Verlander has been that dominant. In his last 13 starts, he's 12-0.

    Verlander hasn't lost a game since July 15, and the way he's going, the Yankees will have a tall order in overcoming No. 35 in a Game 5 scenario.

ALCS Prediction: Tigers vs. Rays

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    The Tigers have a lot to feel good about as they enter this ALDS against the Yankees and will likely defeat New York three games to two, advancing to the ALCS for the first time since 2006.