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ALDS Game 5 Preview: Tigers vs. Yankees

What's that, Joe? You want six innings out of me? Okay, no problem.
What's that, Joe? You want six innings out of me? Okay, no problem.

Game 5 Mood Music - Unstoppable by E.S. Posthumus

If the mood music failed to fire you up for tonight's game, you may wish to check your pulse and possibly seek medical attention.

Tonight, the Yankees and Tigers square off for the final time this season. The winner will advance to the American League Championship Series to duel with the Texas Rangers for a trip to the 2011 World Series. The loser meets up with the Boston Red Sox for a lovely round of golf down in Florida. 

This is the first time the Yankees have played in a Game 5 situation since 2005 when they lost to the (at the time) Anaheim Angels

Rookie sensation Ivan Nova will take the ball for New York in an attempt to defend their home turf. Despite the fact that I'm not a big proponent of a pitcher's win/loss record, Nova hasn't been the recipient of a "loss" since June 3 of this year (and he even tossed six innings and allowed two earned runs). 

Since then, he has added 12 wins to his total and helped propel the Yankees to the top of the American League East. In his last sixteen starts of the regular season he threw 105.1 innings, allowing only 93 hits while walking 31 and striking out 69. This was all to the tune of a 3.25 ERA. 

He's done it all with a fastball, sharp curveball and occasional slider. Nova has induced a fairly large amount of grounders (52.7% to be exact) and has rarely been tagged for a homer this season (0.71 HR/9). 

But let's not forget the most important part. Jscape kindly pointed out that the Yankees are 1-7 in their last three playoff series when they score less than 6 runs. I suppose it's an uplifting fact that New York's offense has averaged 8.82 runs in games that Ivan Nova starts. 

Doug Fister will oppose Ivan Nova and pitch for Detroit's collective playoff life. As you may remember, Fister was sent from the Seattle Mariners to the Motor City on July 30 and has compiled strong statistics overall since his arrival: 70.1 innings, 54 hits, four walks, 57 strikeouts and 14 earned runs allowed. He immediately jumped to the #2 role in the starting rotation behind Justin Verlander and offered a fantastic 1-2 punch for Detroit...

... until Saturday. 

In the suspended Game 1, Fister took over Verlander's duties and certainly didn't thrive in a harsh Yankee Stadium environment. In 4.2 innings, he was tagged for six runs on seven hits while issuing two walks and striking out six. He appeared so rattled that he actually balked. 

Meanwhile, Nova certainly wasn't his sharpest, but his first playoff "start" was good enough to hold the Tigers to only two runs in 6.1 innings. 

Tonight, both pitchers get a chance to actually start the game fresh and prove themselves. 

New York lineup: Jeter SS, Granderson CF, Cano 2B, Rodriguez 3B, Teixeira 1B, Swisher LF, Posada DH, Martin C, Gardner LF

Detroit Lineup: Jackson CF, Kelly 3B, Young LF, Cabrera 1B, Martinz DH, Ordonez RF, Avila C, Peralta SS, Santiago 2B. 

Game thread will be up at 8:00 PM.

For those of you feeling sassy, you can buy last minute tickets to the game here through TiqIQ

Follow me on twitter @csm5206