Big League Stew

10 Numbers for the ALDS: Tigers vs. Yankees

Alex Remington
Big League Stew

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As the start of the postseason approaches, Big League Stew's Alex Remington will take a look at the statistics that might make a difference in each series. Up next are the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees, who will kick off their series Friday night in the Bronx.

31.0 The average age of the Yankees' pitching staff, oldest in baseball. That helps show just how much they've relied on the remarkable rejuvenations of 38-year-old Bartolo Colon and 34-year-old Freddy Garcia, not to mention 31-year-old C.C. Sabathia, 34-year-old A.J. Burnett and 41-year-old Mariano "Methuselah" Rivera himself in the back of the pen. That's a lot of graybeards in the regular rotation, but one thing is for certain: They won't be facing a case of the rookie jitters as they have plenty of playoff experience to go around.

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3,941 The number of pitches thrown by Justin Verlander, most in baseball by 167 pitches. Verlander essentially made one more start than every pitcher in baseball. He threw an average of 116 pitches per start, most in baseball. Verlander also had 10 starts with more than 120 pitches thrown, most in baseball. He's been worked hard, but the big boy has shown he can handle it. {YSP:MORE}

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627 Walks drawn by Yankee hitters, by far the most in baseball; the second-place Red Sox are 39 49 behind them, at 578. The Yankee attack is so balanced that nearly all of those walks are unintentional; the Bombers drew just 34 IBBs this year, tied with the awful Astros for 20th in baseball. Pitchers have to be terrified to walk a Yankee because of whoever is next in the lineup. But the Yankee hitters are so patient that they walk anyway.

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.783 The Tigers' OPS against lefties, fifth-best in baseball. (The Yankees, predictably, are first.) Considering that the Yankees' rotation consists of C.C. Sabathia and a lot of retreads, the Tigers' ability to neutralize C.C.'s handedness could play to their advantage early on. Unless, of course, C.C. treats them just like he treats most everybody else.

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24 percent The percentage of inherited runners that Yankee relievers have allowed to score, tied with the Braves for the lowest in baseball. When there's a fire, their relievers pour water on it. Boone Logan was third in baseball with 61 inherited runners faced, of whom he allowed just 13 — 21 percent — to score. His 40 appearances with runners on base led baseball. When there was trouble, Logan was often the first man Joe G. turned to.

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100 percent The proportion of save opportunities that Jose Valverde converted, 49 of 49. Valverde led the world in saves, and was also tied for second in save opportunities; he led his league in appearances and led the majors in games finished. Only Atlanta's Craig Kimbrel came into more save situations, but Kimbrel had eight blown saves, including three in the final three weeks of the season. J.J. Putz and Mariano Rivera came into 49 save situations as well, but they had four and five blown saves, respectively. Remarkable season for Papa Grande.

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64 percent The percentage of strikes thrown by Yankee pitchers, tied with five other teams for third in baseball. While their pitching staff beyond C.C. and Mo is not the most vaunted part of their lineup, it has done a good job of being efficient: The pitches per plate appearance by the Yankee staff is tied for eighth-lowest in baseball, for example, while the Tiger staff is tied for fourth-most pitches per plate appearance. The walk-happy Bronx Bombers will have a field day with that.

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0 The number of games started by a Tiger pitcher on short rest, fewer than four days' rest. They had the biggest division lead in all of baseball, 15 games, and were virtually assured of a playoff spot during the entire last month of the season. So while Verlander has been worked extraordinarily hard, their pitchers are well-rested. The Yankees had exactly one short-rest start, when Hector Noesi started the first game of the Sept. 21 doubleheader after having come out of the pen just four days earlier.

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31 percent A.J. Burnett's quality start percentage, second-lowest in baseball. (John Lackey's QS% was 32, actually better than Burnett.) What that means is that any time A.J. went out, he had less than a one-third chance of pitching at least six innings and allowing three or fewer runs. It's hard to think of any simpler way to sum up just how appallingly bad Burnett was for the Yankees. In a just world, he would be left off the playoff roster, but in this world, he makes $16.5 million. He'll be in the pen.

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.318 The Tigers' team Batting Average on Balls in Play (BABIP), highest in the majors. Miguel Cabrera, Alex Avila, Austin Jackson and Victor Martinez are all traditionally high-BABIP players, but usually not this high. A big portion of the Tigers' offensive attack relied on their offensive players collectively outperforming their career BABIP. That's harder to do in the playoffs, when defenses and pitching staffs improve.

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