Tom Verducci The combination of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder is too good to hold down. The most important hitter in the lineup will be Delmon Young, because the Tigers need depth in the lineup behind them. TIGERS IN SIX.
Joe Lemire Justin Verlander is baseball's best, but he's also not alone; Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer give Detroit the rotation edge. Unless the Yankees' bats wake up in a big way, expect the Tigers to reach the World Series for the second time in seven years. TIGERS IN SIX.
Albert Chen The Yankees were lucky to survive, but they did. Shaky Tigers closer Jose Valverde and Detroit's shoddy defense are two big reasons why New York will advance to the World Series. YANKEES IN SEVEN.
Ben Reiter That CC Sabathia was needed to close out the Orioles means that he will be unable to make two ALCS starts unless Yankees manager Joe Girardi pitches him at least once on three days' rest. Girardi would be unwise to do so twice, meaning that his ace's second outing will likely not come before Game 7. Detroit's deeper rotation should ensure that the series will not get that far. TIGERS IN SIX.
Cliff Corcoran With their ALDS having gone five games, the Yankees are now faced with playing playoff games on five straight days, which will either force them to use a fifth starter or to start 37-year-old Hiroki Kuroda on short rest for the first time in his career. Mix those rotation problems with the wicked slumps that consumed most of their lineup in the Division Series and it's difficult to see how they can get past a Tigers team that got a key extra day to set up its rotation and which matches up particularly well against the Yankees Game 1 starter, Andy Pettitte.. TIGERS IN SIX.
Joe Sheehan The Yankees were the better team all season long. The real story is how manager Joe Girardi manages the circus he's created by benching his starting third baseman, Alex Rodriguez. YANKEES IN SEVEN.
Jay Jaffe While Detroit's all-righty rotation may continue to haunt Alex Rodriguez, its lack of lefty pitching will be exposed at some point. YANKEES IN SIX.
Ted Keith The Tigers know they'll have Justin Verlander for two starts on regular rest. The Yankees can't say the same about their ace, CC Sabathia. Further, Detroit's lineup enters the series with none of the question marks New York has throughout its order. TIGERS IN SEVEN
Stephen Cannella With Justin Verlander lined up for all-but-guaranteed victories in Games 3 and 7, Detroit has five chances to steal two more wins. They have the firepower to do it -- especially since the Yankees' home run-or-nothing offense, already sputtering, is a good bet to fizzle in spacious Comerica Park. TIGERS IN SEVEN.
Tom Verducci This should be a classic series. The Giants get the edge only because they get the last two games in their park. GIANTS IN SEVEN.
Joe Lemire We've seen this script before in 2006 and '11, when the Cardinals sneaked into the postseason and then got hot. After their NLDS win -- with huge offensive production and Game 5 heroics -- they seem destined to complete the trilogy.. CARDINALS IN SEVEN.
Albert Chen The magic continues. St. Louis has the deepest lineup left in the postseason, a bullpen that's peaking at the right time and the miraculous Chris Carpenter. CARDINALS IN SEVEN.
Ben Reiter The Giants scored 30 runs against the Cardinals in just six regular season games, but 16 of those runs were yielded by pitchers who will play either very minimal or non-existent roles in the NLCS: Jaime Garcia, Brian Fuentes, Joe Kelly, Kyle McClellan and Jake Westbrook. A staff that is much improved from when the teams last met more than two months ago -- not lest due to its addition of Chris Carpenter -- will lead St. Louis back to the World Series. CARDINALS IN FIVE.
Cliff Corcoran St. Louis shouldn't need any last-strike heroics to return to the World Series. With the Yankees slumping, St. Louis has the most potent lineup among the four remaining teams, and the pitching matchups in their series are lined up just right. With the struggling and lefthanded Madison Bumgarner cruising for a bruising from the righty-heavy Cardinals lineup in Games 1 and 5, and St. Louis' top three starters set up for the games in between, this one could be over very quickly. CARDINALS IN FIVE.
Joe Sheehan The Cardinals are the better team and have an excellent offense. Aside form Matt Cain, who can pitch just one of the first five games, the Giants' starters have been shaky. CARDINALS IN FIVE.
Jay Jaffe The defending champions showed their relentlessness in the first round, though Mike Matheny needs to avoid bullpen mistakes. CARDINALS IN SIX.
Ted Keith The two most recent World Series winners and the teams that have claimed half of the last 10 National League pennants are evenly matched. The Cardinals' superior offense, the return of an effective Chris Carpenter and the confidence that comes from their recent postseason miracles will push the reigning champions back to the World Series. CARDINALS IN SEVEN.
Stephen Cannella Minutes after the Cardinals' stunning NLDS Game 5 win, Jimmy Rollins tweeted that St. Louis was up to its "magic tricks" again. But with a deep rotation and a contact-heavy lineup that can match the Cardinals rally for rally, the Giants can cast their own spell over opponents. A rejuvenated Tim Lincecum gives San Francisco a pitching -- and emotional -- edge.. GIANTS IN SIX.
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