Keys to a Long Detroit Tigers Postseason Run

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The suspended game on Friday night was a wash for the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers (pun intended). Detroit obviously has the advantage that the series is best of five instead of seven. This allows them to utilize the strengths of the roster and minimize its shortcomings that would be more prevalent over more games.

Verlander Must Win Two Games: The righthander has won twenty-five games during the regular season. He has been the first pitcher in the league to do so in two decades. The suspension of Friday night’s contest took him and opponent C.C. Sabathia off the mound for Saturday. Verlander could still make two starts if the series goes the distance. New York has some major question marks after the top of their rotation, so Joe Girardi is treating Sabathia with kid gloves.

Continued Domination of Miguel Cabrera: The first baseman for Detroit has put up some magical numbers once again this season. He hit .344 with over thirty home runs and one hundred runs batted in. This puts him among the elite in the game. The production will be necessary throughout the postseason if the Tigers are to make a deep run. He only missed one game during the regular season, so his health should not be an issue whatsoever. His demeanor will not cause him to press in stressful situations either.

Jose Valverde Closes: In a previous post, I predicted that Justin Verlander would be the recipient of the Cy Young Award. I certainly was not going out on a limb with that prognostication. During most seasons, closer Jose Valverde would have a legitimate shot at that hardware. He has successfully shut the door on the opposition during all of his forty-nine save opportunities. The public is enamored with Mariano Rivera’s cutter, but there has been nobody more successful than Valverde in the back end of the bullpen this season. He must carry this over to the New York series to keep the team morale high.

Timely Hitting by Victor Martinez: Much like Valverde is overshadowed by Verlander, Martinez is by Cabrera. Nobody on the club is a better natural hitter than Martinez. He is one of those players that could probably be effective with his swing into his late forties. He certainly has his shortcomings behind the plate; fortunately the team has Alex Avila to manage the pitching staff in that regard. Martinez should come up numerous times throughout the series with runners on base. Detroit’s run totals will largely depend on what he does in these situations.

An Unexpected Hero: Not many predicted the Giants to go the distance last postseason. Outfielder Delmon Young provided a solo shot on Friday before game one was suspended. This unexpected play can be contagious for teams. He certainly has the potential to continued success. Some other likely candidates include Jhonny Peralta and Brennan Boesch. Both men have the necessary pop to come up big late in games. They also have the ability to take the ball near the right field foul pole to take advantage of the short porch.

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