Teixeira and Swisher try to get back on track
Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher won't have it easy in their quest to redeem themselves for their 2010 postseason misfortunes.
Teixeira is 3-for-22 against Tigers ace Justin Verlander in his career, though the good news is that two of the hits came this season, including an Opening Day home run at Yankee Stadium.
Swisher is 8-for-48 with 19 strikeouts against Verlander in his career, combining the regular season with a postseason meeting in 2006. The only hitter Verlander has struck out more is his current shortstop, Jhonny Peralta (20 times).
Swisher actually hit Verlander alright early in his career, but is 2-for-27 against him dating back to early in the 2008 season. In the two matchups the pair have had this season, Swisher is 0-for-5 with a walk.
Teixeira was 0-for-14 and missed the final game with an injury in last season's ALCS loss to the Rangers and is hitting .170 in two postseasons with the Yankees. He's 7-for-48 against right-handed pitching and the pitch that has stymied him most is Verlander's speciality, a curveball. Teixeira has whiffed eight times against hooks from right-handers.
Swisher is hitting .148 in two postseasons with the Yankees, with nearly twice as many strikeouts (23) as hits (12). It's not just two-strike counts in which Swisher has had issues. While most hitters feast on counts of 2-0, 2-1, 3-0, or 3-1 (the major league batting average in such counts is .350), Swisher is just 1-for-13 in them as a Yankee in the playoffs.
Jeter's customary hot start
Derek Jeter is 22-for-49 in Game 1 of an LDS, 19-for-34 when Game 1 (.559 BA) of the LDS is played at Yankee Stadium.
The last two times that the LDS has opened at Yankee Stadium, Jeter went 5-for-5 (against the Tigers) in 2006 and 2-for-2 with two walks against the Twins in 2009, homering in both games.
Jeter needs two postseason home runs to match Bernie Williams mark of 22 for most in Yankees postseason history. On a more obscure note, Jeter has four career postseason triples and needs only needs one more to match George Brett for the most in postseason history.
The Tigers try to "low-ball" the Yankees
A few weeks ago on Sunday Night Baseball, Bobby Valentine talked about how the Tigers have some of the best hitters in baseball against pitches that are down in the strike zone. The numbers bear him out.
CC Sabathia's tendency is to work in the middle to upper-third of the strike zone with his fastball, but if he goes lower-third with one, he could be in trouble.
According to our pitch-performance data, the 2011 Tigers feast on fastballs, knee-high or below, to a .347 batting average, best in baseball by a considerable amount (the Royals are next-- .331, followed by the Red Sox, .310. The Yankees are at .298).
Detroit's best low fastball hitters are catcher Alex Avila (.435 BA, five home runs), DH Magglio Ordonez (.419), centerfielder Austin Jackson (.379) and first baseman Miguel Cabrera (.371) .
Sabathia will want to be careful with Cabrera regardless. The Tigers slugger has tagged him for nine hits in 16 career at-bats.
Stat of the Day
Mariano Rivera has 31 postseason saves of at least four outs. The next-most by any pitcher is seven by Rich Gossage. The next-most by an active pitcher is four, by Jonathan Papelbon and Brad Lidge.