NEW YORK YANKEES
at DETROIT TIGERS
American League Championship Series Game 4 – Detroit leads series 3-0
First pitch: Thursday, 4:05 p.m. EDT
Line: New York -110, Detroit +100, Total: 7
Looking to avoid an embarrassing ALCS sweep, the Yankees will send ace CC Sabathia to the mound against Max Scherzer in Detroit on Thursday afternoon, one day after getting rained out on Wednesday.
No matter how well Sabathia pitches, he cannot win a game by himself. The Yankees have scored just one run in their past two games and are averaging a pitiful 2.0 runs per game in their past seven contests. Sabathia has been in dominant form in leading his team to five straight wins, throwing at least eight innings in all five starts. This includes two ALDS outings where he went 2-0 with a 1.53 ERA and 0.85 WHIP. Scherzer, however, has also been quite good. Since the beginning of August, he is 6-1 and his Tigers team is 9-3 in those dozen Scherzer starts. He allowed just one unearned run in his lone postseason start so far, and owns a 1.88 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in his past three starts. Although Sabathia is a postseason veteran with a 7-1 record and 3.09 ERA in 13 outings since joining the Yankees, he struggled against the Tigers last year. When Detroit beat New York last year in the playoffs, Sabathia pitched three times (two starts), compiling 8.2 innings of duty, with eight walks (2.08 WHIP) and six runs (6.23 ERA). He won all three starts against the Tigers this year, but had an average run support of 8.7, a figure he cannot expect with the struggling lineup behind him. As home underdogs, take DETROIT to complete the sweep.
This pair of three-star FoxSheets trends also side with the Tigers:
Play On - Home underdogs with a money line of +100 or higher (DETROIT) - with a starting pitcher who strikes out 5 or more batters per start, with a rested bullpen - threw <= 2 innings in each of the last 2 games. (89-60 since 1997.) (59.7%, +45.7 units. Rating = 3*).
Play On - Home teams when the money line is +125 to -125 (DETROIT) - bad offensive team (<=4.5 runs/game) against a good starting pitcher (ERA<=4.20) (AL), starting a well-rested pitcher who is working on 5 or 6 days rest. (115-64 over the last 5 seasons.) (64.2%, +54.6 units. Rating = 3*).
The New York lineup has been just abysmal with a .200 average in the playoffs and .158 in the ALCS. So, the pressure is on the pitching. Having pitched in the AL Central, Sabathia has plenty of experience pitching against the Tigers. In 37 career starts he is 18-12 (team 22-15) with a 4.48 ERA and 1.30 WHIP. In his three wins this year against them, he had a 3.32 ERA. Overall on the season, Sabathia has a 3.23 ERA and 1.12 WHIP, though those numbers jump to 3.87 and 1.30, respectively, on the road. Even if Sabathia cannot go the distance in this one, he is supported by a bullpen that has been awesome in the playoffs. New York relievers have a 1.96 ERA and 1.04 WHIP so far in the postseason.
The Detroit lineup has not been spectacular, but it has been good enough in the postseason. In their past four games, all wins, the Tigers are averaging 4.3 runs per game. Delmon Young has been a key part of it and loves mashing in the playoffs with seven career postseason HR, a team record. He hit a long ball Tuesday, his second of the series and fifth in eight career playoff games versus the Yankees. Scherzer (3.64 ERA, 1.26 WHIP in 2012) also loves pitching against New York. Although he did not make it out of the fifth inning in his last start (4.2 IP, 3 ER), that is the only career loss he has against them. He owns a 4-1 record in five career starts with a 2.73 ERA. He threw six shutout innings against the Yankees in winning Game 2 of the 2011 ALCS. Look for this strikeout machine (239 K's in 193 IP) to take the Tigers to the World Series.