Detroit didn’t get to the playoffs by accident. The Tigers are a very
good team. Here are 10 things Yankee fans should know about them.
10. Enter the Fist — Everyone was excited about Hunter Pence being traded at the deadline. Carlos Beltran as well. Both solid, but maybe Doug Fister has been the best. Who? The journeyman was 8-1 with a 1.79 ERA for the Tigers. His start in Game 2 will be key in this series.
9. The Isotopes? — The best name in baseball belongs to Al Alburquerque. Yes, that’s his real name. No, it’s not a porn pseudonym. The Tigers’ top setup man has a 1.87 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 43.1 innings.
8. No running! — One thing not to worry about? Stolen bases. The Tigers were dead last in the AL with just 49 steals. Brett Gardner had 49 thefts himself.
7. Keep your balance — The Tigers aren’t a team that leads the AL in many offensive categories. But they are in the top 5 in most. That includes runs, walks, doubles, triples, batting average and on-base percentage. They can rake.
6. Miggy — Somehow Miguel Cabrera always gets lost in the discussion of best overall hitters in baseball. The guy led the AL?in batting average this year and he hit 30 home runs. Keep guys off the bases in front of him.
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5. Down and out — Two key players will be missing from the ALDS for Detroit — Brennan Boesch and Carlos Guillen. Boesch is out for the year with a hand injury, but Guillen might return if they advance.
4. Young arms — You know the ace and now you know Fister — the vet. But Rick Porcello and Max Scherzer might be the keys. The young flamethrowers need to bring it.
3. Manager on duty — Skipper Jim Leyland has been to the playoffs six times with three different teams. He’s already won a World Series with the Marlins in 1997, so you know he has the experience required to get it done again this year.
2. Closing time — The best closer in this series according to the numbers? Jose Valverde. He was 49-for-49 in save opportunities this season.
1. Ver-land — Look, he’s the Cy Young. He won the AL?Triple Crown in pitching. He throws 100 mph ... in the eighth inning. He is very, very good. If you didn’t get a chance to watch him this year, and thought he was good in the past, he’s better now. He had 250 strikeouts in 251 innings. Be afraid.