The further we get into this year’s Tigers-Yankees playoff series, the more it begins mirror the 2006 series between the two teams. In 2006, the Detroit faced the New York as the wild card, and after losing the first game on the road, came back to win three straight and clinch the series at home. With a win tonight, the Tigers will replicate their performance in ’06 and advance to face the Texas Rangers in the ALCS.
The big story heading into tonight’s game is Yankee starting pitcher A.J. Burnett. After signing a large contract heading into the 2009 season, the talented Burnett has been less than spectacular. Heading into the postseason, the Yankees hadn’t planned on using Burnett, but following Friday night’s rainout, the Yankees were forced to use a fourth starter. Arguably the most inconsistent pitcher in the American League, Burnett will try to save the Yankees season by defeating the Tigers at Comerica Park, a place he has had little success.
Tonight the Tigers send third-year pitcher Rick Porcello to the mound in hopes of clinching the series. Porcello, like Burnett, has also had a bit of a roller coaster season. At times, he has pitched brilliantly, but struggled to hold form throughout the regular season. For Porcello to succeed tonight, he will need to have a strong command of his fastball and sharp movement on his sinker. With a strong performance from Porcello and some timely hits from the offense, the Tigers will win the series and match the results of the 2006 ALDS.