Who Is The Best Matchup For the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS?

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October 13, 2012 7:00 AM EST

The Detroit Tigers have a chance to reach their second World Series in the last six seasons under manager Jim Leyland and eagerly await the outcome of Friday night’s Game Five of the American League Division series between the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles.

But who would be their best matchup?

The below is a glance at both New York and Baltimore's numbers against the Tigers this season, outlining their top hitters and pitchers.

Season and Playoff Series

New York took six of their 10 games against the Tigers this season, and Baltimore tied their season series 3-3.

Historically, Detroit has faced the Yankees in two playoff series, and has won both with a combined 6-3 record, but they have never faced Baltimore in the postseason.

Top Hitters

The difference appears to be negligible for the Tiger’s big hitters, third baseman Miguel Cabrera and first baseman Prince Fielder.

Triple Crown winner Cabrera pounded New York this season for a .311 average with six homeruns, four doubles, 14 RBIs, and a .800 slugging percentage. Cabrera equally punished Baltimore with a .500 average and three home runs and .909 slugging.

Against New York, Fielder garnered a .333 average with three home runs and nine RBIs, and posted the same average with one less home run and 5 RBIs against the Orioles.

In the Batter’s Box

Both New York and Baltimore's top bats struggled against the Tigers this season.

MVP candidates Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano were the Yankees best hitters all season, but the Yankee captain hit .286 with six strikeouts against Detroit, while Cano managed only 11 hits for a .268 average.

Baltimore’s Chris Davis led the team with 33 homeruns and 85 RBIs, and knocked two of those home runs and five RBIs against the Tigers, but outfielder and team-leader in average Adam Jones only hit .200 with six strikeouts in 25 at bats.

Starting Pitching

Tigers' ace Justin Verlander won’t take the mound until later in the ALCS because of his Game 5 win over Oakland Thursday, but Detroit’s success in the playoffs hinders on his starts.

In 2012, Verlander was 1-1 in three starts against the Yankees, with a 3.10 ERA, and New York’s hitters posted a .294 average and four homeruns. The Yankees earned the most homeruns off Verlander this season, with only three other teams hitting more than one against him.

On the flip side, the reigning AL MVP had two starts against Baltimore this season and recorded a 1.93 ERA and three earned runs.

Third-year righty Doug Fister could start Game 1 of the ALCS if Detroit manager Jim Leyland stays with the same rotation as the ALDS, and Fister fared far better against the Yankees this season. He had one no decision with two earned runs and eight hits versus New York in a game ultimately lost by reliever Joaquin Benoit.

Baltimore, however, tagged Fister for eight earned in two starts for a 1-1 record.

Aces

Despite only 15 wins this season, CC Sabathia is the Yankees top starter in the playoffs, and like Verlander he won't pitch until later in the series. Still Sabathia earned a fifth of his regular season wins against the Tigers this season, with a 3.32 ERA and 20 strikeouts.

Baltimore's Wei-Yin Chen led the team in wins, ERA and strikeouts, but was 1-0 in his two starts against Detroit this season with a no decision. Chen has a 4.91 ERA and six earned runs against the Tigers, but five of those runs were from his win, when Baltimore was victorious 7-5 back on Aug. 19.

Best Match Up: The Yankees, whose lineup has struggled throughout the ALDS, and would continue their troubled run against the Tigers pitching. Overall Detroit’s rotation was third in the AL in both average and ERA, at .268 and 3.75, respectively.

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