Center of attention

The best-of-five American League Division Series between the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers heads back to Yankee Stadium for Thursday’s Game 5 thanks to a player who the Tigers traded to the Yanks two years ago.

Curtis Granderson, who was an all-star centerfielder for the Tigers, has come back to haunt his old team with both the bat and the glove.

The 30-year-old Granderson made the catch of the game with the bases loaded and two outs in the first inning of Tuesday’s Game 4 that saved Yankees hurler A.J. Burnett from getting knocked out of the contest early. Granderson also added an RBI double later in the game for good measure.

Most sports books monitored by the SportsOptions odds product opened the Yankees as $1.55 home favorites, with the total set at 9 1/2.

Burnett settled down nicely after walking the bases loaded in the first frame, allowing just one run in 5 2/3 innings to help the Yanks register a 10-1 victory as $1.15 road favorites.

The combined 11 runs skipped ‘over’ the 10-run closing total. The ‘over’ has now cashed in three of the first four games of this series, with the favorite also cashing at a 3-1 clip.

Thursday’s fifth and deciding game will feature two hurlers who pitched in relief during last week’s Game 1, which was suspended in the second inning due to rain.

New York will send rookie right-hander Ivan Nova to the mound against Detroit’s Doug Fister.

Nova registered the win in the suspended game by allowing just two runs on six hits through 6 1/3 innings in relief of CC Sabathia. The 24-year-old Nova walked four and fanned five during his 101-pitch effort. Nova did not face the Tigers during the regular season.

Fister, who relieved Justin Verlander, entered the game in the second inning and was touched for six runs on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings. In all fairness, three of those runs scored when rookie Al Alburquerque allowed a grand-slam homer in relief of Fister.

The 6-foot-8 Fister walked two and fanned six during a 90-pitch effort.

Fister, who was acquired by the Tigers from Seattle in a trade-deadline deal, faced the Yankees once during the regular season as a member of the Mariners.

The 27-year-old right-hander limited the Yankees to three runs on seven hits through seven innings, but still suffered a 4-1 loss as a hefty $2.65 road underdog. Fister walked one and fanned five en route to a 101-pitch performance.

Fister was 8-1 during his 11 regular season starts for the Tigers and did not allow more than two earned runs during 10 of those outings.

Though this series is tied 2-2, the Yankees have outscored the Tigers 26-14.

‘Over’ and out

The ‘over’ is 9-3-2 in the last 14 meetings between New York and Detroit, including 7-1 in the last eight at Yankee Stadium. The ‘over’ is 7-2 in Detroit’s last 10 overall outings and7-2-1 in New York’s last 10 playoff games. The ‘over’ is also 6-2 in the Yankees’ last eight games as a favorite.

Trendsetting

The Yankees are 8-1 in Nova’s last nine starts as a home favorite. New York is 10-4 in its last 14 home playoff outings.

Behind the mask

The fact that Ted Barrett is behind home plate for Thursday’s Game 5 does note bode well for Detroit. The Tigers are a dismal 8-17 in their last 25 games with Barrett calling balls and strikes.

The weather

No need for an umbrella at Yankee Stadium for Thursday’s Game 5. The forecast calls for clear skies with temperatures at the start of the game in the low 60s.

Comments

  1. joe hanson says:

    this story loaded with helpful facts / especially umpire

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