Major League Baseball

2012 ALCS Predictions and Preview – Inside The Wheelhouse

CC SabathiaThe 2012 Major League Baseball season is down to four remaining teams, two from each of the American and National leagues. The American League Championship Series will feature two teams that aren’t strangers to one another as the Detroit Tigers and the New York Yankees go head-to-head in a rematch from last year’s American League Division Series. Detroit would go onto win that series in 5 games and head to the 2011 ALCS while the Yankees packed their bags for the season.

Can New York gain revenge for last season’s loss or will the Detroit Tigers win their third straight Postseason series against the Yankees in the last 6 seasons? Let’s take a look at the 2012 American League Championship Series:

Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees

It was just a little over a year ago at this time where the Detroit Tigers were celebrating a Game 5 victory over the New York Yankees in the 2011 American League Division Series to send them packing for the 2011 season. The Tigers would advance to the American League Championship Series and eventually get eliminated by the Texas Rangers. New York was left to watch the Tigers celebrate on their field and extend their season; they now look for revenge in 2012 in a 7-game series.

This will be the 3rd time in 6 years that these two teams will meet in the Postseason. Detroit eliminated the Yankees in the 2006 American League Division Series as they would go all the way to the World Series, only to lose to St. Louis that season and then as we just recapped, the Tigers would be in the 2011 American League Division Series as well. Jim Leyland has had the Yankees number since he has taken over the skipper’s job in Detroit and looks to take his record to 3-0 against the Yankees in the Postseason for his career.

Just like in each of those two prior series the Yankees will have home-field advantage, clearly something that didn’t give them an advantage against the 2006 and 2011 Detroit Tigers teams. What could help the Yankees in the long run is instead of this being a 5-game series this will be a 7-game series. A series that will more then likely see Justin Verlander start at least two of those games, should it go to 7 I would assume that Leyland would use Verlander only in a relief spot, if needed.

In a strange twist of fate the New York Yankees enter this series against Detroit with the statistically better pitching at this point. In the ALDS series the New York Yankees had a team ERA of 1.76 in 5 games. Detroit on the other hand seemed to struggle when pitchers not named Justin Verlander were on the mound and whenever Leyland would call to the bullpen for relief. Something that I have always pointed out in my preview blogs come Postseason for the CCB was that pitching wins Championships and as of right now you have to give that edge to the Yankees.

Where Detroit has the edge is in its lineup. Miguel Cabrera is the best hitter in Baseball right now and Prince Fielder has helped compliment him throughout the season. Fielder seemed to catch fire towards the end of the Athletics series while Cabrera has been a well-known “Yankee killer” throughout his entire Baseball career.

New York on the other hand has struggled dearly with their lineup throughout the Postseason thus far. They did not score more then 3 runs in the last 4 games after scoring 7 in Game 1 of the ALDS series against the Orioles. At times the Yankees seem desperate when stepping up to the plate and very much out of sync. The drama surrounding Alex Rodriguez at this moment is well documented but as we all know, this is a new series and anyone, including the Yankees lineup or Tigers pitching can be rejuvenated when a World Series is on the line.

With that said when it comes to my predictions for the American League Championship Series I will have to side with the New York Yankees and for two reasons that I believe have rung true the last several years in the MLB Postseason. New York enters this series against Detroit with the right time for their pitching to catch fire, the team ERA of 1.76 is extremely impressive for a team that has lacked pitching the last two Postseasons and as we all know, pitching wins Championships. The 2nd reason I believe the Yankees will win the ALCS is because they have momentum going in their favor at this time, they are coming off of a series where they had to fight till the end against the Orioles and have the momentum to carry them into World Series.

Pitching and momentum wins Championships. Should that continue to ring true for the New York Yankees then I like this team to beat a very good Detroit Tigers team. Detroit has become the Yankees new road block season-after-season it seems like and now it’s time for them to get the “monkey off their back.”

Prediction: Yankees win series 4-2

For more MLB talk throughout the Postseason join Bower, Chris Johnson and myself Monday – Friday throughout the Football season on 97.9 ESPN in Hartford, ESPN 1300 in New Haven and online at 979espn.com!

You can listen to Jeff on “The Bower Show” every Monday – Friday from 3pm – 7pm ET on 97.9 ESPN in Hartford, CT. You can listen online at www.979espn.com

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Jeff Peck

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