The Detroit Tigers finally vanquished a tough Oakland Athletics team in the early hours of Friday morning, winning their ALDS. It wasn't until 8 PM Friday when we learned the Tigers' opponent in the ALCS would be the Evil Empire, aka the New York Yankees. But the ever vigilant staff at Bless You Boys brushed the cobwebs from their addled due to lack of sleep brains and quickly put together predictions for the upcoming series.
First off, a little bookkeeping. The only staff member to get their ALDS prediction correct was...drum roll, please...Patrick!
The artist formerly known as Tigerdog was the one BYB staffer who thought the Tigers would need 5 games to knock off the A's. So bear that in mind as you peruse our picks for the ALCS.
SB Nation's Yankees blog, Pinstriped Bible, has yet to post any predictions due to still being in "celebration/recovery/OMG we have to face the Tigers again" mode after a crazy 5 game series victory over the Baltimore Orioles. But I would anticipate their thoughts on the ALCS would be the polar opposite of ours.
Now, the picks!
Al: Tigers 4-2.
Even though the Yankees will overload their batting order with left-handed bats against the Tigers' rotation, their lineup remains in general disarray. Alex Rodriguez looks old and slow and was benched in an elimination game, which says volumes about the Yankees' lineup issues. The Evil Empire struggled mightily against an Orioles rotation which pales in comparison to the Tigers'. Scoring runs was like pulling teeth, slow and painful.
If there was one thing I learned in the ALDS, it was never, ever doubt the Tigers' starting rotation (The bullpen? Well, let's not go there). It's the best in the playoffs and will carry the Tigers back to the World Series.
Think of it this way. Would you pick against Justin Verlander? Me neither.
Kurt: Tigers 4-2.
If there's anything going for Detroit this series, it's this: Prince Fielder should be able to deliver a home run in Yankee Stadium. At home in Comerica Park, Prince and Miguel Cabrera should continue to be the big, fuzzy adorable players we love. They will not be stifled for two series in a row. Meanwhile, the Tigers' rotation, even if it is all right-handers, should continue to keep scores low and games winnable. The Tigers have knocked the Yankees out of the ALDS twice, now it's time to move on to the ALCS, too.
Allison: Tigers sweep.
I said the same for the ALDS on a whim, I really had no idea. I still don't, and this prediction has mostly dumb stuff behind it: This series needs to end before game 5, because I cannot watch any of game 5. Selfish? Probably! I missed a ton of the ALDS due to late games and being sick, so I don't want to miss any more playoff games, damn it.
Even though JV isn't fantastic against the Yankees, I see him being the stopper again in game 3. For all of our collective sanities, I hope it's not necessary, but it's just a thought I had. Just please, get it done so I don't suffer through my friend's wedding reception, unable to watch.
Rob: Tigers 4-3.
The Tigers split the first two games in the Bronx, but the Yankees pull one back with an excruciating extra innings victory at Comerica Park (hey, you know it's coming). With the series at 3-2 in favor of the Tigers heading back to New York, the Yankees gut out a Game 6 victory. Game 7: Verlander vs. Sabathia. The short rest eventually gets to Sabathia while Verlander puts together another dominating performance. Tigers in 7.
Patrick: Tigers 4-3 (Verlander wins two).
The Tigers got excellent performances from their starting pitchers to win the ALDS over Oakland, and they take the stronger rotation into the ALCS against New York. Offensively, a stat line of.252/ .293/ 337/ 631 is unimpressive, but Detroit led the four AL teams in the ALDS in all four categories.
Meanwhile, the Yankees struggled to score against Baltimore with Alex Rodriguez benched in favor of aging veterans Eric Chavez and Raul Ibanez. In the case of both teams, you can chalk that up to strong pitching or weak offense, take your pick, but Detroit brings a more impressive set of numbers into this series than the Yankees do.
The Tiger rotation posted an impressive ERA of just 1.30 against the A's, allowing a batting average of just .176. The bullpen was not nearly so good, with a 5.00 ERA. The key here is to either get better pitching from the bullpen, or to avoid them by having the starters go deep into games.
Dee: Tigers 4-2.
It worked well the first time so I'm sticking to it.
Numbers: Tigers 4-2.
1. Fister wins (DET)
2. Sanchez has another tough luck loss (NYY)
3. In Verlander We Trust (DET)
4. Bullpen fails Max (NYY)
5. Fister wins again because that's what he does in the post-season (DET)
6. Anibal finally gets his due (DET)
Les: Tigers sweep.
The Tigers have been getting squeezed all season, performing in that tight space that leaves them just above the point of elimination but below our predictions. For the ALCS, I think they'll need all the room to under perform that they can get. Tigers in 4.
Melissa is yet to provide picks.