The Tigers' season is riding on Max Scherzer's shoulders.
Game 1 did not go how the Tigers planned. A heavy downpour suspended the game after 1.5 innings and Justin Verlander had to be put on the shelf until Game 3 on Monday in Detroit. Things were not completely bleak for Detroit though. Doug Fister would face rookie Ivan Nova for the rest of the game with a 1-1 tie between the two division champs.
Unfortunately for the Tigers, things were not so simple. They played with little confidence. The defense was shoddy, the offense was weak and the pitching was off. Fister got himself into some jams but was able to work out of them until the sixth inning when he was touched up for five runs (including a grand slam by Robinson Cano).
By the time it was all said and done, the Yankees walked away with a 9-3 victory and a 1-0 lead in the best-of-3 series.
However, Detroit should not despair. In 2006, the Yankees beat the Tigers 8-4 in Game 1 including a 5 run inning. Detroit went on to win the next three games.
More importantly than what happened in the past is what the rest of the series holds. While the Yankees only have to see Verlander once, the Tigers only have to see CC Sabathia once. The epic postseason matchup of Sabathia vs. Verlander will now be in Detroit for Game 3 instead of New York for Game 1. The Tigers could be tied 1-1 or down 2-0. If they are down 2-0 there is no way Verlander will lose, he won't let it happen and he's willed a lot of wins this year. If they are 1-1 then the Tigers could potentially go up 2-1 on the series and will see AJ Burnett the next game.
On Sunday, Game 2 will be held at New Yankee Stadium featuring Max Scherzer vs Freddy Garcia. The Tigers have seen Garcia before when he was with the Chicago White Sox, though that also means he is equally familiar with the Tigers. Garcia has been what Scherzer has been in 2011, a serviceable starter that is either dominant or terrible. Scherzer has been good against New York since coming to Detroit (2-0 with a 4.15 ERA this year, including a shutout, 3-0 2.84 lifetime).
If the Tigers come out with a win, they will leave New York 1-1 and have the advantage going into Detroit where the Yankees have a rough time playing.
The Tigers are down but not out, there's a realistic chance that they will be heading to the ALCS this year.