Detroit Tigers v New York Yankees
The New York Yankees are the pick for a much-needed win on the road against the Detroit Tigers in the American League Championship Series. New York manager Joe Girardi has smartly kept his ace CC Sabathia on regular rest so the left-hander should be primed for yet another good performance. He looked at the top of his game against the Baltimore Orioles in the American League Divisional Series, going 17 2/3 innings and allowing just three runs (he also struck out sixteen thanks in large part to his devastating slider/cutter).
His pitching opponent, Max Scherzer, put up strong number this season, but he battled some shoulder soreness late in the season and, as a result, can’t be counted on to necessarily go deep in this game. With some bullpen problems percolating in the Tigers’ relief corps (closer Jose Valverde has been less than reliable), New York should steal this one from Detroit.
St. Louis Cardinals v San Francisco Giants
Look for the hometown St. Louis Cardinals to better the visiting San Francisco Giants in the National League Championship Series. Both starters are aces; the Cardinals’ Kyle Lohse and Matt Cain of the Giants have what it takes to deliver a great duel. Lohse is coming off a fantastic showing in game four of the National League Divisional Series, going seven innings and yielding just one run on two hits.
But Cain, despite having a great 2012 overall, is showing signs of some late-season drop-off. He wasn’t too effective in his two starts in the National League Divisional Series against the Reds, posting a 5.06 ERA in two starts. Moreover, historically, he’s yet to have a good performance at Busch Stadium: over his career he’s 0-2 with an 8.27 ERA there, having given up fifteen runs in 16 1/3 innings pitched in St. Louis. Go with the Cardinals at 1.77 instead of the Giants at 2.05.