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Sabathia-Verlander take the hill for Monday's Game 3
By: Nick Bracken - StatFox
Published: 10/3/2011  at  12:39:00 PM
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NEW YORK YANKEES (98-66)

at DETROIT TIGERS (96-68)

ALDS Game 3 - Series Tied 1-1
First pitch: Monday, 8:35 p.m. EDT
Line: Detroit -125, New York +115, Total: 7

The New York Yankees will travel to Detroit to face the Tigers for a crucial Game 3 on Monday night. Detroit picked up a big road win on Sunday in New York and now has home-field advantage with a best-of-3 waiting to be played.

New York will send out its ace CC Sabathia (19-8, 3.00 ERA) on Monday night. Sabathia has not enjoyed throwing in Detroit of late, going 0-4 with a 7.56 ERA in his past four starts at Comerica Park. The Tigers will send an ace of their own in Justin Verlander (24-5, 2.40 ERA). Verlander was once again spectacular at home this year, going 10-3 with a 2.37 ERA in 16 home starts this season, giving him a home record of 32-8 (80%) since 2009. The Yanks also have had an odd problem of playing at night, where they are just 54-53 (-17.6 Units). The Tigers have been tremendous when tabbed as a favorite of -125 to -175, going 41-17 (+16.5 Units), including 16-2 when Verlander starts with the same lines. Detroit is 50-31 at home and has also has handled lefty starters pretty well, going 31-21. With an electric home crowd and an electric fastball from the league’s best pitcher in Verlander, the pick is for DETROIT to take command of the series Monday night and defeat Sabathia and the Bronx Bombers.

This four-star FoxSheets trend also backs the Tigers.

DETROIT is 22-5 (81.5%, +18.8 Units) against the money line with an on base percentage of .375 or better over their last 5 games this season. The average score was DETROIT 5.4, OPPONENT 3.0 - (Rating = 4*).

This five-star FoxSheets trend also sees a classic pitchers’ duel finishing UNDER the small total of 7.

DETROIT is 13-0 UNDER (+13.0 Units) in home games vs. AL teams scoring 5.2 or more runs/game on the season over the last 2 seasons. The average score was DETROIT 3.3, OPPONENT 2.4 - (Rating = 5*).

Sabathia’s Game 1 was shortened by rain last Friday, as he and Verlander faced off, but the game was postponed due to rain after 1½ innings. Sabathia has been great in the postseason as a Yankee, going 5-1 with a 3.15 ERA. But most of that success was in 2009, as last year, the lefty had a 5.63 ERA and 1.81 WHIP in three playoff starts. Sabathia knows he must lead his team to a victory with a struggling A.J. Burnett scheduled to start Game 4 in Detroit. Sabathia and the Yankees have been in many of these “basically must wins”, and will need their power hitter, Mark Teixeira, to improve on his career .221 hitting at Comerica Park. He is 7-for-41 (.171 BA) at Detroit in a Yankees uniform.

The dominant Verlander has been decent against the Yanks in his career, going 4-3 with a 3.97 ERA in 10 career starts. He’s been much better in his past six outings against the Bombers, carting a 2.63 ERA and 40 K in 37.2 innings. Luckily for Verlander, Detroit has been super-hot at home, winning 16 of its past 20 contests in front of their home crowd. A big part of the most recent home success has been first baseman Miguel Cabrera, who is batting .577 (15-for-26) with four homers and seven RBI over his past six home games. If Cabrera can keep his hot bat going and Verlander pitches as he’s done all year as the lock for AL Cy Young, the Tigers will have no problem getting a leg up on this series.

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