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Thursday, September 29, 2011
Updated: September 30, 10:34 AM ET
ALDS: Who ya got -- Yankees or Tigers?

ESPNNewYork.com

ESPNNewYork.com asked our panel of experts to predict the outcome of the American League Division Series matchup between the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers.


Wright
Matthews

WALLACE MATTHEWS
Tigers in 5

The Tigers only have to win three games and they have Justin Verlander pitching two of them. That makes it very tough for the Yankees to win this series, even with CC Sabathia going twice. Give the big man one game -- Game 4, the one Verlander is not pitching -- and give Ivan Nova one, Game 2, and you're still one game short. The Tigers may not be able to hit homers like the Yankees -- only Miguel Cabrera has as many as 30 home runs -- but Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello and Doug Fister are easily a match for Nova and Freddy Garcia. And no one is a match for Verlander. Oh yeah, their closer, Jose Valverde? 49 for 49 in save opportunites.


O'Connor
O'Connor

IAN O'CONNOR
Tigers in 5

The 2006 ALDS was a series, Alex Rodriguez said, "that our team got dominated in." That won't happen to the Yanks the second time around. I see this as a potentially epic ALDS settled by the fact Detroit's best pitcher, Justin Verlander, is stronger than New York's best pitcher, CC Sabathia. The emergence of Doug Fister gives the Tigers a great chance to get the Game 5 ball to Verlander, and I'd take Detroit's ace over Ivan Nova and the Yanks' home-field advantage in that one.


Wright
Marchand

ANDREW MARCHAND
Yankees in 4

CC Sabathia neutralizes Justin Verlander in Game 1 and Sabathia comes back in Game 4 to win it. Verlander only gets one start.


Rubin
Rubin

ADAM RUBIN
Yankees in 3

CC Sabathia tops Justin Verlander. And Verlander never gets another chance to appear in the series. Joe Girardi may need to change his number again in 2012. Bring on the Texas Rangers.


Parker
Parker

ROB PARKER
Yankees in 4

The Tigers would be a tougher team to beat if ace Justin Verlander was definitely pitching twice in the series. Right now, the soon-to-be voted AL Cy Young is scheduled to pitch Games 1 and 5, meaning the Yankees could only see him once. Plus, the Tigers feasted on the worst division in baseball. The Yankees are bigger, stronger and deeper. And look for A-Rod to finally join in and deliver.


Howard
Howard

JOHNETTE HOWARD
Tigers in 5

If you believe this series is going to go five games -- and I do -- that's when everything becomes tricky for the Yankees. Because even if their ace CC Sabathia beats Tigers Cy Young candidate Justin Verlander in Game 1 on Friday, the Yankees' decision to go with a three-man rotation this round means they would have rookie Ivan Nova going at Yankees Stadium against Verlander in a winner-take-all Game 5. And as good as Nova's been, that's a lot to ask of the kid. The Tigers match up well with the Yanks' offense and their bullpen. But the year-long starting pitching drama finally catches up to the Yanks. And for a change, nobody blames it all on A.J. Burnett.