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ALDS Game 1 Preview: Tigers at Yankees

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Editor's note: Matt LaFave wrote this, I am publishing for him.

Detroit Tigers at New York Yankees

Probable Pitchers:
Friday September 30, 8:37p:
RHP Justin Verlander (24-5, 2.40, 250 K, 57 BB)
Hitter to Fear: Jorge Posada (6 for 20, 3 2B, 5 RBI)
Hitter to Fail: Mark Teixeira (3 for 22, 7 K)

at

LHP CC Sabathia (19-8, 3.00, 230 K, 61 BB)
Hitter to Fear: Miguel Cabrera (9 for 16, 1 2B, 2 HR, 11 RBI)
Hitter to Fail: Jhonny Peralta (1 for 17, 5 K)

What to Watch For:
1. Ace vs. Ace - Let us start with CC Sabathia, the Yankees one and only pitching ace. With Sabathia being an ex-Indian, he has seen the Tigers quite a bit over his career. He is 15-12 with a 4.54 ERA in 32 games. He also is no stranger to the postseason. In 13 playoff games, he is 7-4 with a 4.66 ERA.

The Tigers will counter with MVP candidate Justin Verlander. In 10 games against the Yankees in his career, Verlander is 4-3 with a 3.97 ERA. In 2006, his only postseason year, he went 1-2 with a 5.82 ERA.

Both pitchers have faced the opposing team twice this season and both pitchers are winless. The ALDS will start off just as the regular season began. In New York City at Yankee Stadium, ace vs. ace.

2. Cabrera loves New York - Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera loves the city of New York and the Yankees pitching staff. He has a career .374 batting average and 26 RBIs against the Yankees. When hitting at new Yankee stadium, he carries a .389 average with 6 homeruns and 11 RBIs.

He is also bringing a hot bat into the postseason. In his last 10 games, Cabrera is hitting .514 with 4 homeruns and 8 RBIs.

3. Rivera loves closing out Detroit - Players and fans in Detroit have always feared the 9th inning when losing to the Yankees. Rallies and 9th inning heroics are as rare as a Justin Verlander loss nowadays.

In fact, the last time Yankees closer Mariano Rivera blew a save against the Tigers was in 1999 at Tiger Stadium. Since then, he is 23 for 23 in save situations and has only given up 1 earned run - a homerun from the bat of Curtis Granderson.

Yankees blog: Pinstripe Alley

On Deck:
Saturday October 1, 8:37p:
RHP Doug Fister at RHP Ivan Nova

Monday October 3, 8:37p:
RHP Freddy Garcia at RHP Max Scherzer