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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.