New York Yankees v Detroit Tigers
The Detroit Tigers will take game two against the Yankees in New York in the American League Championship Series. Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez will bring an element of surprise that will benefit him and his team greatly in this game. The Yankees have seen Sanchez pitch, but when these sides faced off on August 8, Sanchez was struggling and the Yankees slammed him for seven runs in just three-plus innings of work. Since then Sanchez has fixed his mechanics and has been throwing extremely well. Bottom line: the Yankees will likely be somewhat unprepared for Sanchez’s improved approach, which will help his cause.
New York counter with Hiroki Kuroda, who did pitch pretty well against Detroit in the regular season (13 1/3 innings; five runs allowed). But Kuroda is hitting the fatigue wall. He’s already thrown twenty-five more innings this year than he has in any season of his Major League career. This workload is bound to catch up to him and I expect it to do so in this match-up. Detroit should pick up the win.
San Francisco Giants v St. Louis Cardinals
The Giants will succeed on the back of their starter Madison Bumgarner in their National League Championship Series opener against the never-say-die St. Louis Cardinals. Bumgarner has been fantastic at home this season, going 10-3 with a 2.38 ERA. Despite pitching poorly in his first post-season contest of 2012 (against the Cincinnati Reds), he has a solid playoff record, boasting a 2-1 win-loss and a 3.24 ERA.
St. Louis starter Lance Lynn will suffer from the lack of recent starts. It’s been two weeks since his last start and, out of the bullpen during the post-season so far, Lynn hasn’t been terribly effective (three runs allowed in three innings). In his only start against the Giants this year in August, he was roughed up for four runs on eight hits and three walks in six innings. Despite the Cardinals’ impressive come-from-behind road victory over the Washington Nationals in game five of their National League Divisional Series, St. Louis (on at 2.12) will have to start building momentum again in this new series. It won’t start here as the Giants, who can be had at 1.72, will prevail.