After Robinson Cano lead the New York Yankees to a win in Game 1, the Detroit Tigers bounced back today. Jose Valverde got into a little bit of trouble in the ninth inning, but managed to save a 5-3 win for the Tigers.
So the series now shifts to the Motor City tied at a game a piece. The teams had to deal with a rainy weekend in New York, and ironically, rain is in tomorrow's forecast for Detroit as well.
If a decisive Game 5 is necessary, it will be played at Yankee Stadium. Winning the next two games at home and ending the series on Tuesday would certainly be in the best interest of the Tigers.
Here are four reasons that I think the Tigers will win the ALDS in Detroit.
During the regular season, the Tigers were 50-31 at home. I know that the postseason is a lot different than the regular season, and home success might not necessarily carryover, but it's clear that the Tigers play well at home and always feed off of the energy from their fans.
The last time the Tigers were in the playoffs was 2006 when they played the Yankees in the ALDS. After losing Game 1 in New York, the Tigers ran off three straight wins to head to the ALCS and eventually the World Series.
The first two games have played out exactly like '06 -- maybe the next two will as well.
Teams usually get an off-day when traveling to the other team's city in the playoffs, but because of the suspended game on Friday, the Yankees and Tigers were forced to play today, which was their scheduled travel day. Rather than pushing the rest of the games back a day, they're now forced to play in Detroit tomorrow.
I know this affects both teams, but it's a lot nicer traveling home rather than to a different city. Whatever jet lag the Tigers experience will be offset by their home fans.
The lack of an off-day also limits what the Yankees can do with their starting rotation. The Yankees don't have a very deep staff. If there was no rain on Friday, they could have turned to Sabathia and Nova for Games 3 and 4, each on three days rest.
Sabathia will go tomorrow, but Joe Girardi is forced to start the inconsistent AJ Burnett in Game Four.
Another advantage for the Tigers.
The Yankees score runs in a bunch of ways, but a big part of their offense is the long ball. It's obviously a lot harder to go deep at Comerica Park than at Yankee Stadium.
A very interesting Wall Street Journal article examined the home runs hit by the Yankees at the hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium. They factored in distance and other factors, and plotted them on an outline of the Mets' Citi Field. It was concluded that only half of them would have been out at Citi Field.
The dimensions of Comerica Park are pretty similar to those of Citi Field. Less home runs by the Bombers would obviously help the chances for two Tiger wins.
The Tigers can thank Mother Nature for this.
Tomorrow, Justin Verlander will go up against CC Sabathia. Both pitchers looked a little shaky in Game 1 before it started pouring. Getting to play in Detroit gives Verlander a significant advantage. The inning he threw in Game 1 may have calmed his postseason nerves, allowing him to have a better outing in Game 3. Also, Verlander was 10-3 with a 2.37 ERA at Comerica Park this season.
If Verlander can beat Sabathia, the Yankees' season will rest on the right arm of AJ Burnett. He posted a 5.15 ERA this year and has been a major disappointment considering his massive contract.
His opponent will be Rick Porcello, who also hasn't been stellar this season. But you have to give the advantage to Porcello pitching at his home park.
I think both Verlander and Porcello will pitch well enough to suppress the Yankees' bats.
My gut instinct is that we'll be seeing the Detroit Tigers celebrating a ALDS series win on Tuesday at Comerica Park.