Yankees vs. Tigers: 2012 By The Numbers
Flash forward a year, and after outlasting a pair of upstarts in Baltimore and Oakland respectively, the Yankees and Tigers will meet once again in the 2012 ALCS, with a trip to the World Series (and perhaps playoff redemption) on the line.
The two teams come in after going through a pair of Division Series that were very similar, but very different just the same. Neither team ever trailed in their series, both matchups saw their share of late-inning heroics, and in Game 5 it was their aces who saved their seasons by pitching complete-game masterpieces – but while the Yankees knew from the start they would be locked in a true battle to the end, Detroit nearly blew a 2-0 series lead before Justin Verlander's two-hit complete game shutout sent the Tigers to their third ALCS in seven years.
Here now is a snap-shot look at the regular season matchup, the postseason skinny, and both teams' respective statistical leaders:
The Yankees won 6-4, taking two of three in their lone meeting in the Bronx and four of seven in their two Motor City showdowns.
Most Memorable Game of 2012:
June 2 in Detroit: Hiroki Kuroda (2 ER in 7 IP) and Rick Porcello (1 ER in 6 IP) thrilled fans in a pitchers duel that was a sgood as advertised, but it ended up being the bullpens who decided their teams’ fate that night. The Yankees trailed 2-1 heading into the eighth, but Nick Swisher’s two-out single in the top of the frame tied the game at 2-2. Miguel Cabrera hit a solo shot in the bottom of the inning to give Detroit back the lead, but Detroit closer Jose Valverde gave back the lead in the ninth thanks to a pair of walks and two hit batsmen. That, however, only set the stage for a walk-off, as catcher Omir Santos’ sac fly with the based loaded and one out gave the Tigers a 4-3 win.
Yankees: defeated Baltimore 3-2, splitting the first two games in Baltimore before winning two of three at home.
Tigers: defeated Oakland 3-2, winning the first two games at home before having to go to a Game 5 in Oakland.
Yankees: Raul Ibanez (4-for-9, 2 HR, 3 RBI, game-tying and winning solo homers in Game 3) and CC Sabathia (1-0, 1.53 ERA, 16 K in 17.2 IP over two starts, including a complete game win in Game 5).
Tigers: Omar Infante (6-for-17, 6 R) and Justin Verlander (2-0, 0.56 ERA, 22 K in 16 IP over two starts, including a complete game four-hit shutout in Game 5).
Of course, Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson came to the Bronx in the December 2009 trade that sent outfielder Austin Jackson and lefty Phil Coke to the Motor City. The Tigers also have another former Bomber in their bullpen in Octavio Dotel, who pitched 10.1 innings for the Yankees in 2006, while the Yankees have two former Tigers on their staff: Freddy Garcia (1-1, 4.20 ERA in three starts in 2008) and Clay Rapada (27 IP over 32 games from 2007-09).
Yankees: Derek Jeter (.316)
Tigers: Miguel Cabrera (.330)
Yankees: Curtis Granderson (43)
Tigers: Miguel Cabrera (44)
Runs Batted In
Yankees: Curtis Granderson (106)
Tigers: Miguel Cabrera (139, won Triple Crown)
Team pitching leaders:
Yankees: Hiroki Kuroda (16)
Tigers: Justin Verlander (17)
Yankees: Hiroki Kuroda (3.32), Rafael Soriano (2.26)
Tigers: Justin Verlander (2.64), Brayan Villarreal (2.63)
Yankees: CC Sabathia (197)
Tigers: Justin Verlander (239)
Yankees: Rafael Soriano (42)
Tigers: Jose Valverde (35)
Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroYES