2012 ALCS Preview and Predictions From WhatIfSports.com image

Bronx Bombers too much for Tigers

New York Yankees bullpen predicted to carry the day in close series

By Ryan Fowler and Jake Westrich - WhatIfSports.com
October 13, 2012

Using our MLB simulation engine, we "played" the Detroit Tigers versus the New York Yankees in the 2012 best-of-seven American League Championship Series 101 times.

In the table below, you will find each team's chances of advancing to the World Series and how often they win in 4, 5, 6 or 7 games. The Yankees win 56.4 percent of the time overall, but the most likely scenario is the Tigers beating the Yankees in seven games 20.8 percent of the time.

ALCS 101 Simulations of Best-of-7 Series
MatchupWin%4-Games%5-Games%6-Games%7-Games%
Tigers43.64.05.013.920.8
Yankees56.46.918.8 14.915.8

From the commissioner and league that brought you a TIE in a MLB All-Star game, I present to you the 2012 American League Championship Series schedule.

A little over 12 hours have passed since the Yankees beat the Orioles in their division series. Now, it's time for the Yanks to strap 'em back on and the Tigers to catch a bird to the Big Apple for the first game of the ALCS Saturday night at 8 EST.

Despite Jose Valverde's 9th-inning collapse in Game 4 against the A's, Justin Verlander (17-8, 2.64 ERA and 239 strikeouts during regular season) shut down the feel-good story A's. Even with the series pushed to a decisive Game 5, Detroit enjoyed Friday off.

However, by tossing JV in Game 5, the Tigers are at a disadvantage in the ALCS. Instead of sending their ace to the mound in Game 1, they have to settle for Doug Fister on Saturday and Anibal Sanchez on Sunday. Verlander will return for Game 3.

Led on offense by Miguel Cabrera, the first Triple Crown winner in four decades, the Tigers finished third in on-base percentage (.335), sixth in batting average (.268) and seventh in slugging (.422). Miggy finished with a .330 batting average, 44 home runs and 139 RBI. New addition, Prince Fielder pounded out 30 bombs with 109 RBI, while hitting over .300 as well. The team's 726 runs scored (4.48 runs scored per game) ranked 11th overall.

In New York, the headlines range from new t-shirts full of hubris, to "meh, we won another division series," to "DID YOU SEE THEY BENCHED A-ROD?!?!"

The Yanks will be without their No. 1 starter, C.C. Sabathia (15-6 / 3.38 ERA / 1.14 WHIP) who shut down the Orioles in Game 5. So, Andy Pettitte is up Saturday with Hiroki Kuroda to follow in Game 2. Pettitte missed the majority of the second half due to a broken ankle suffered after a comeback liner drilled him. In his final three September starts, the lefty was 2-1 with a 1.62 ERA in 16 2/3 innings of work. The 40-year-old pitcher defined "overachieving" in 2012.

The same cannot be said of Alex Rodriguez who also missed a chunk of the second half with a broken wrist (courtesy of a Felix Hernandez fastball). He finished the season 29-111 (.261 BA in September/October) with only three home runs. He was pinch-hit for twice in the ALDS and benched in Game 5 in favor of Eric Chavez.

New York finished the regular season first in slugging, second in runs scored and on-base percentage and eighth in batting average. To put in perspective how important the team's on-base percentage was compared to batting average, the Yankees hit just .257 in September (14th in the league); however, they posted an OBP of .340 (sixth in the league), which allowed them to score the second-most runs (146) in the month.

Note: The Yankees won the season series 6-4. In seven starts against the Yankees in 2011 and 2012, including the playoffs, Verlander is 2-1 with a 3.92 ERA. Sabathia is 3-0 in three starts with 20 strikeouts in 21 2-3 innings against Detroit this season.

Using our MLB simulation engine, we "played" the best-of-seven series 101 times - using regular season stats - and it's the Yankees advancing to the World Series 56.4 percent of the time.

Though the Tigers had the best pitcher in the simulation, with Verlander sporting a 3.63 ERA, the Yankees bullpen (collective 4.56 ERA) outdueled the Tigers bullpen (5.04 ERA). Robinson Cano led the Yankees with a .326 batting average, while Cabrera topped the Tigers with a .340 average, 6.2 RBI and 2.2 home runs.

Remember, you can simulate the Tigers vs. Yankees ALCS as many times as you want for free using our MLB SimMatchup tool.

Game 1 Sample Box Score
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Tigers5130Boxscore
Yankees391Simulate Game

Game 2 Sample Box Score
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Tigers4120Boxscore
Yankees670Simulate Game

Game 3 Sample Box Score
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Yankees490Boxscore
Tigers7101Simulate Game

Game 4 Sample Box Score
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Yankees3120Boxscore
Tigers8111Simulate Game

Game 5 Sample Box Score
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Yankees170Boxscore
Tigers051Simulate Game

Game 6 Sample Box Score
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Tigers240Boxscore
Yankees4100Simulate Game

Game 7 Sample Box Score
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Tigers3101Boxscore
Yankees6110Simulate Game

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Ryan Fowler is the Content Manager for WhatIfSports.com. He can be reached at rfowler@whatifsports.com.

Jake Westrich is the Digital Content Coordinator for WhatIfSports.com. He can be reached at jwestrich@whatifsports.com.

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