ND scholars- SEC schools -‘ just win baby.’

By (Irish) JACK IRELAND
On Saturday night football fans throughout the country will be glued to their television sets or pouring into their favorite sports bar all around the country to watch the showdown between NO. 1 Louisiana State and second ranked Alabama. Hey, the winner will have a leg up toward one of the two berths for the BCS national championship game in January. After al, an SEC school, usually LSU or Alabama, has been winning the national stitle in Division I football for the last several years.
What could be better than that. It’s just about winning and winning big for power schools in the SEC., Big Ten, Pac-10 and Big 12.
I’m pretty sure it will be a classic college football game. Two tremendous football teams going head to head. But, I question the motives behind big-time college sports today, classic game or not.
It’s about the future for schools moving all around to different conferences to get that best national exposure and big money deals. All we hear is college football is heading for three or four Super Conferences and forget about everybody else.

I doubt you will find any fans, or even administrators and faculty a tLSU and Alabama thinking about academics and will their big-name or even backup p;layers go on to earn a college degree some day in the future. Most fans of schools like that could care less. it’s just “win baby, win.”
Well at schools like Notre Dame, Boston College, Duke, Stanford, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest and the Naval Acvadem to name a few , graduation is first and foremost when it comes to student athletes.
The NCAA released it’s most updated graduation rates earlier this week. It’s not a surprise that the University of Notre Dame ranked No. 1 among the 120 schools playimng in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I) for the fifth straight year. This is the overall graduation rate in all Division I sports (male and female).
It’s graduation rate is 99 percent. Boston College and Duke tied for second at 97 percent. So it shows that major Division I schools can have good athletic programs and high graduation rattings for its stuent-athletes.
When you look at these GRS ratings, the SEC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac 10, except for Stanford, are nowhere to be found. Gee, that
s a big surprise.
The theme at those schools, especially in the big money making sports like football and basketball, is again” win baby win. and win big.”.
I know, the ND critics remind us all he time that the Irish are oi longer a football power. All that great tradition is something from the past.
Two weeks ago, while driving home from my own college reunion, I was listening to a sports talk show on XM radio.It was the same night Notre Dame had self destructed in the second half and lost to Southern Cal on national television.
The host of the show mentioned he was kind of surprised that ND lost to the Trojans. This astute fan, who had called infirst of all to talk about Stanford’s Andrew Luck, called Notre Dame’s fotball program garbage in response to the announcer’s comment.
Trust me pal, there is nothing garbage about ND. I can’t say the same for some of these so-called great football programs in the country.
Don’t be so sure the Irish won’t win again. However, they will have to do it with coach Brian Kelly recruting student-athletes who can play at a high level. He has several players there right now who fit that bill. ND may never win another national title because the Division I p;laying field is no longer even, but only time will tell if Kelly can bring the Irish back to consistenly being a nationally ranked program.
School with ratings of 90 and above were ND, Boston College, Duke, Northwestern, Rice and the Naval Academy.
For the third straight year Notre Dame is first in five GRS categories, all students (99 percent), males (98), female (100), black student-athletes (98) and football student athletes at 97 percent, up one point from 2010.
The federal numbers have the Irish first for all athletes, male and female students.
Plus, ND has been shining for years in sports like women’s basketball and soccer, ice hockey, baseball and now the men’s lacrosse squad is one of the best in the nation.
Last March the women’s basketball team reached the NCAA championship game before losing to Baylor. The Irish women are No. 2 in the preseason poll released this week.
And Coach Mike Brey has done an outstanding job producing solid teams each year in the rugged Big East Conference. Last year the Irish rose as high as No. 5 nationally in the final regular season poll.

Now, most of our college sports fans of today, young and not so young, don’t think any of that matters. Again it’s that. “just win baby. just win”.
Some fans and media alike think these athletes, at the big Division I level schools, should be paid some kind of of a stipend because of all the revenue they bring into the university, especially in football and basketball. That’s crazy.
The argument is many come from low income backgrounds and have no spending money like other students do. Agsin, that’s crazy.
Did anyone mention these athletes (male and female) are on a full scholarship.They are treated like kings and queens. A chance of a lifeime for a free college education. Unfortunately, many of these athletes are there to play sports with academics way in the background.
Now, lets ;lso be fair here. We know there are many good student-athletes playing football for teams like LSU, Alabama, Arkansas anf Auburn.
Another unfortunate thing that often happens is these athletes (male) find ways to hit the bars, get into fights, suspended (but usually return in time for the big games) and even have prostitutes avalable at certain schools.
I really get my ire up jhen we mentions schools like Ohio State (what a disgrace), Miami( don’t get me started), Southern Palifornia (Coach Pete Carroll escaped just in time to the NFL), and oh yes, the Cam Newton story at Auburn. It’s hard to say there was a converup of any major wrongdoings because the NCAA steered clear of that since Newton was on his way to winning the 2010 Heisman Trophy.
So many college presidents turn the other way in the recruting of certain athletes. They are willing to pay NFL type salariesto their coaches for a chance at the BCS bowls, winning a national title and oh yes, bringing in the big revenue.

Again, those ,memorable words ring out. “Just win baby, win.”
My responses is schools like Notre Dame, Boston College and Duke excel is so many Division I sports (male and female) the right way. At Notre Dame the goal of the administration and faculty is to give students (athletes and non athletes) the best education possible. And most of all, give each student-athlete a great, great chance to earn a college degree. and graduate.
How refreshing that sounds in the world we live in today.

Havre de Grace – the town – best PR agent to be found for small Maryland town

By Irish Jack Ireland
The town of Havre de Grace, Md. is small, quaint and a very nice place to live.
If thre 4-year old racing filly, who is named after the town, has anything to do with it, Havre de Grace (the town) might become known to the entire thoroughbred racing world and national media by the first weekend in November.
Have de Grace, owned by Wilmington native Rick Porter and his Fox Hill Farm stable, is currently considered the top race horse in the country with the Breeders Cup Championships looming just two weeks away.
On Nov. 5, there would be little doubt she would most likely wrap up Horse of the Year honors with a victory over the males horses in the prestigious BC Classic at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.
There are plenty of reasons, several of them local, to be excited about this powerful filly, but the words of Larry Jones, her trainer, might tell it best.
“I seriously think this is the closest I’ve ever been to the perfect race horse,”said Jones. “I thought Secretariat was that when he retired. If she (Have de Grace) has a flaw anywhere, anyhow, I haven’t found it.”
Havre de Grace was locally stabled in the Jones barn at DelPark for the last several months before he shipped her recently to Lexington (Ky.) to begin final Breeders Cup training preparations.
Her regular jockey is Ramon Domoinguez, no stranger to Delaware Park and it’s racing fans. Before becoming the dominant jockey on the Nrew York circuit, the popular Dominguez held that role at DelPark for five consecutive years. Domnguez, with the soft hands and the low-key demeanor, is a great fit for this exciting filly. And, Dominguez is clearly one of the “Real Nice Guys”, in the thoroughbred industry today.
Last year Dominguez wasn’t her regular rider, but Have de Grace had a good coming out 3-yar old campaign. Only problem was she just couldn’t seem to beat arch-rival Blind Luck in a couple major graded stakes for 3-year old fillies.
Blind Luck rallied just epough to nip her at the wire in the Grade II Delaware Oaks in 2010 at DelPark. The same scenario played out in the Grade I Alabama in August of 2010 at Saratog (N.Y.).
Porter and Jones have to be commended for the path they have taken with the filly sensation in 2011. Her one loss wasto Blind Luck by a whisker in the Grade II Delaware Handicap in July at DelPark. ASs disappointing as that was to lose like that fpor the second straight year omn her home track, Porter and Jones didn’t waver.
That setback didn’t deter them. It probably made them more determined about the right course of races for her.
Have de Grace bounced back to beat the boys in the Grade I Woodward at Saratoga. This fall she posted an impressive win in the Beldame Stakes at Belmont Park (N.Y.).
Have de Grace is trying to become the first horse stabled at DelPark to win the Eclipse Award as National Horse of the Year since Hall of Famer Spectacular Bid did it in 1980.
If Have de Grace can beat some very good older males on Nov. 5 in the Classic, she would be the first locally-based filly or mare to ever win the Eclipse as Horse of the Year.
Have de Grace is also trying to follow in the footsteps of filly Rachel Alexandra and the mare Zenyatta to take the top honor for a a horse in thoroughbredd racing for 2011.
Porter and Jones together have turned out some locally based horses that have made made a big name on the national level.
Those included the likes of Hard Spun and the late filly champion Eight Belles.
Porter has never shied away from putting out the money to purchase talented horse to run in the Triple Crown, other major states around the country and the Breeders Cup.
It’s time for him to be rewarded after undergoing some bad racing luck and real sadness with some of his top horses. Jones will have this filly at the top of her game when she steps into the starting gate at Churchill for the biggest race of her career.
I’m stepping up right now to say Havre de Grace will bring home the bacon and show those boys a thing or two on Nov. 5.
So even if you don’t follow horse racing in the town of Have de Grace, don’t miss the chance to be part of this excitement with a racehorse that doesn’t know the meaning of giving in or not trying her best to win. Jump on the bandwagon, it’s been a greayt run so far and will get only better. In a world today fillied with so much disappointment, anger and sadness, be part of a wonderful story and a neat little Maryland town that is a part of it.
As the saying gos, ‘Show me the money.’ My money is on Have de Grace all the way. Watch out – big boys.
EXTRA: EXTRA – Check in next week when I highglight two more local horses headed for the Breeders Cup in Gace Hall, trained by Anthony Dutrow anbd Union Rags, conditioned at Fair Hill (Md.) Training Center by Michael Matz.

Sallies grad grabs the blarney stone

By Irish Jack Ireland.

 Notre Dame football fans and even you haters out there and  might tune in the nationally televisied  game between the Irish and Southern California on Oct. 22. Keep an eye out for Notre Dame’s No. 50, senior Ryan Kavanaugh, the holder on field goal and extra point kicks for the irish and kicker David Ruffer.
Kavanaugh, a Salesianum graduate and former All-State lacrosse player for the Sals, first made the Irish roster as a walk-on long snapper three years ago. He made the squad in a backup role under coach Charlie Weiss.
When Brian Kelley took over last year, Kavanaugh graduated to holder on all extra points and field goal attempts. It should be noted that Ruffer didn’t miss a field goal attempt the entire 12 game regular season.
In last week’s 52-33 win over Air Force Kavanaug) was quite busy.
Kudos to Kavanaugh for sticking with it and doing something not many football players could,manage at the NCAA Division I level.
Kavanaugh was a backup end and s[pecial teams player for coach Bill DiNardo during his football days at Salesianum. Kavanaugh’s family lives in nearby West Chester, Pa.

Kavanaugh should be in the middle of some big, hopefully winning kicks, over the final six Notre Dame regulae season games.

Archmere upset headlines irish Jack Ireland’s high school six pack

By Jack Ireland. High school football picks and rankings.

As we hit the midseason point Irish Jack begins his high school grid colum this week with my state Top six rankings for Division I and II.

Division.I: 1-Middletown,, 2-Salesianum, 3-St. Mark’s, 4-Newark, 5-Dover, 6-(tie) Concord, Cape Henlopen.

Division II: -1-Delmar, 2-Caravel, 3-St. Elizabeth, 4-Archmere, 5-Hodgson, 6-Lake Forest. Howard closing in on top six spot.

Six pack of thrills and spills, including a couple upset picks from Irish Jack.

Friday

Archmere at Caravel, 7- I’m smelling an upset win for Archmere tonight. The Auk are solid with runners like Charlie Witsil, Dave McCrae and workhorse Bryan Garrahan.

Caravel is rolling after knocking off defending Division II state champion St. Elizabeth last week. Bucs (4-0) are for real and feature standouts Aaron Baunchaulk, Pierce Ripanti and quarterback Jon Welch. Archmere’s aggressive defenseis led by tackle Conor Lucey.

Archmere kicker Austin High, also an excellent receiver, may be the difference. Archmere 22-20.

Delmar at Indian River, 7:30 – Indians look for big win at home, but Delmar has too many weapons. The rushing of Frank Braham and the two-way threat of quarterback Kevin Trade,r behind an efficient offensive line could wear down the scrappy Indians. Delmar better slow down dynamic IR quarterback Jamie Jarmon. Delmar 28-20

Salesianum at Upper Darby (Pa.) – Sals are trying to hit the halfway mark at 5-0. This is the first of three straight out-of-state road games for Salesianum. Upper Darby, with three top running backs,  is just 1-4, but play in the tough Central Pa.) League.

Durable quartback Tommy Reeder has the arm and the receivers, led  by tight end Randall Schiccatano and slotback Jesse June to losen up the Upper Darby defense. That can make halfback Jerome Stanley even more dangerous. Sallies 21-13.

Sussex Central at Dover, 7:30. Sussex two-way back DeShawn Sheppard is one of many weapons for the underrated Golden Knights. However, Dover shook off a lopsided loss to Salesianum and regained its confidence a week later with a stunning upset win over defending Division I champion St. Mark’s. Sussex lost by two TDs at home to St. Mark’s.

Dover is speed crazy and can make big plays with the likes of QB Ian Gory and receiver- defensive back Jordan Robinson.. Dover 33-26.

Sussex Tech at Caesar Rodney, 7:30. Ravens have explosive offense, featuring Willis Dickerson and Christian Sivels. Running back Sahquille Stratton and improving CR pull off upset here. CR 27-26

Saturday

A.I. duPont at Newark, 7:30- Two exciting quarterbacks with Newark poster boy Taylor Reynolds and A.I. little man Ramsey Lowery. This may be closer than many think. Newark to stay undefeated with its overall balance and the arm of Reynolds. Newark 28-15.

College special

William & Mary at Delaware,. I came ‘oh so close to picking Maine to upset the Blue Hens last week. I blew a chance at that one. I know Delaware will be home and in an angry mood, but that won’t deter William & Mary. These two teams have built up quite a rivalry over the years. Hens stunned at Delaware Stadium. William & Mary 31-27

filly sensation Havre de Grace hopes bells are ringing in New York’s Beldame Stakes

By Jack Ireland
Havre de Grace, the brilliant 4-year old filly owned by Wilmington native Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farm, warms up for her next big challenge in today’s (Saturday) Grade I Beldame Stakes at Belmont Park (N.Y.).

Havre de Grace, the daughter of Saint Liam, breezed five furlongs on Tuesday at Delaware Park. Havre de Grace, trained by Larry Jones, was clocked in 1:02 1/5 over a fast main track at Delaware.
Havre de Grace is no stranger to DelPark. She has been stabled there since the beginning of the 2011 live meet last April. Havre de Grace, with New York’s top jockey Ramon Dominguez up, finished second. beaten a nose, by rival Blind Luck in the Grade II $750,000 Delaware Handicap on July 17.

Havre de Grace is a strong contender for Horse of the Year honors after she became just the second filly ever to win the Grade I Woodward Stakes,  against the boys, on Sept. 3 at Saratoga with Dominguez. Havre de Grace has enjoyed a Hall of Fame caliber career to date with seven wins, four seconds and two thinrds from 13 starts. She has lifetime earnings of $1,986,175.

“All is well. She started off slow, but finished up real good,” said Jones after her work. “She came home running well enough and we are where we want to be. When she got back to the barn she acted like it was a routine gallop instead of a breeze. But believe me, she is fit off of that Saratoga race. We are ready.”

After the Beldame, she is scheduled to run in the Breeders Cup championships at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4. The question will be is she going to enter to Ladies Classic or the overall Classi with the boys. Today should tell us a lot.

Note. I have great respect for Jones and Porter, dating back to when I covered the horse racing beat for the News Journal. In my opinion, this filly is a definite contender for Horse of the Yerar Honors.

I know I’m pulling for her. She has shown true grit and toughness. That’s why she owns a win over the boys and could very well win the Breeders Cup Classic if Jones and Porter decide to go in that directions.

What’s up at DelPark?

Since I don’t work fulltime covering racing anymore, I have to admit at being a bit shocked when Delaware Park cancelled racing on Wednesday because of a lack of entries. How can that happen with a trop notch racing secretary like Pat Pope and a equally qualified Director of racing in John Mooney.

I won’t say anymore until I have a chance to talk to Pope or Mooney or both. I sure hope that doesn’t happen again during the last four weeks of the live meet.

Locally-based Grace Hall filly to beat in today’s Blue Hen

DelPark-based Grace Hall, trained by Anthony Dutrow, is the 6-5 morning line favorite in today’s $75,000 Blue Hen Stakes at the Stanton track. Joe Rocco Jr. has the mount in the mile and 70 yard test for 2-year old fillies.

Glinda the Good, trained by Steve Asmussen and drawing the rail, is the early 7-2 second choice in the field of seven fillies entered.Delaware native Mike Luzzi is named to ride.

Grace Hall, by Empire Maker comes into today’s race on a big note after winning the Grace I $250,000 Spinaway Stakes at Saratoga (N.Y.) on Sept. 4.Grace Hall became the 23rd graded stakes winner since 2002 to break their maiden at Delaware.

In her only other career start, Grace Hall won by three lengths in a ix furlong maiden race at DelPark on July 30.

“The big thing is I want to get some two-turn experience into her,” said Dutrow. “It is not easy to find a two-turn spot for her because New York has the one turn stakes and I could have gone to Keeneland, but I wanted to keep her on the dirt. It is as simple as that. I want to get some turn-turn experience in her and it was in our own backyard.”

t’s no accident that Dutrow has a few of those graded stake winners who break their maidens at DelPark over the years.”

“It is really amazing that there have been so many young, really good horses that broke their maidens here,” said Dutrow. “It is really not a fluke if you look at the large number of good horsemen around here..”

. Believe You Can owned by Brereton Jones and traned by Larry Jones, is 6-1 in the early line with Gabe Saez up.

Football biggies this week- St. Mark’s bounces back in a big way: Cavs and Sals stay unbeaten

By JACK IRELAND

Here’s my quick hitters for week four of the high school football season. Also Maine has upset potential

Lets hit the field running

Tonight

St., Mark’s at Caesar Rodney, 7:30. St. Mark’s is still smarting from upset loss to Dover at home last Saturday. Quarterback Jeff Ziemba and teamates have little compassion for winless, but improving Riders. St. Mark’s 27-7.

Middletown at Alexis I. duPont, 7. Middletown back James Baynard is a strong comnpliment to quarterback Darius Wade. Cavaliers defense held a good Concord offense to just 173 yards total offense last week. A,I. has plenty of offensive weapons, but depth should tell here. Middletown 26-14

Cape Henlopen at Sussex Tech, 7:30. Both teams enter the game with unbeaten 3-0 nomnference marks. Both want to show they belong with Dover, Sussex Central and Caesar Rodney in the fight for the Henlopen Conference North title. Halfback Jerome Johnson of Cape is a threat to go all the way every time he touches the football. Jacob Dmiterchik and Tomiko Saez are good receivers. Cape in a good one. 21-19.

Saturday (Oct. 1).

Salesianum at William Penn, 2:30. Sallies has to be on guard against the upset from nonconference rival William Penn. This is the first of four straight road games with out-of-state matchups against Upper Darby (Pa.), Paramus (N.J.) and Avon Grove (Pa.) to follow.Colonials are better than 0-3 record, provoing that in close losses to St. Mark’s and Newark. Sals will pound the ball, featuring halfback Jerome Stanley and the passing and running of soph QB Tommy Reeeder, who gets better each week. Randall S\hiuccatano leads an underrated group of recveivers. Sallies 20-6.

St. Elizabeth vs Caravel at the University of Delaware, 4. The mddle game of three to be played for the first time at Delaware Stadium. Caravel is dangerous with quarterback Jon Welch, receiver George Murray and running back Chris Wickes. St. E is coming off an emotional, hard-hitting close loss to Delmar .Some might think the Vikings are in for a letdown, but not with coach Joe Hemphill at the controls. St. Elizabeth, 34-15.

College

Delaware at Maine,- Don’t think this will be easy pickings for Delaware as Black Bears veteran coach Jack Cosgrove goes after his 100th career coaching win. Maine is 2-1 and that one loss was 35-29 at NCAA Division I Pittsburgh.

Maine’s offense features quarterback Warren Smith, who has passed for 5,574 career yards. One of his receivers is Tatnall grad Justin Perillo, who had six receptions and a touchdown in a win over Albany (N.Y.) two weeks ago. Running back Pushaun Brown has rushed for 100 yards or more in five straight games, dating back to last year. Tim Donnelly is coming off a 304 yard passing effoert in the Hens CAA opening win against Old Dominion. Really tempted to pick the upset here, but Delaware has enough if it’s ready to go. Delaware 24-20.

Phils did it the right way, can’t say the same for those mighty Yankees

Jack Ireland
Irish Jack is weighing in on a few topics this week. My first blog deals with the Phillies and Yankees.

Let me start with a few comments about howPhillies manager Charlie Manuel and Yankees skipper Joe Giradi handled their respective final three game series’ of the regular season this week.

As everyone knows (unless you have been asleep the last few days), the Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves finished off their respective collapses on Wednesday night. At the start of September both clubs appeared to be shoe-ins for the American and National league wildcard spots respectively in the postseason playoffs.

In sports anything can and usually does happen at some point and it was all bad news for Boston and the Braves in the final month.

Kudos to Manuel, who played his entire first string players in almost every game of the Phils three game sweep of Atlanta. Maneul said he would go after all three of those games and he didn’t back off. Plus, after just ending an eight game losing streak on Sunday, Charlie wanted the momentum in the Phils corner heading into Saturday’s opening series at home against the Cardinals.

Mauel also started two of his big horses, oy Oswald and Cliff Lee in the first twowins oin the series, in Atlanta. He started Joe Blanton in the series finale, butfollowed with Cole Hamels (three innings) by Vance Worley, Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson and Mike Stutes. Then two young relievers, Schwimer, De Fratus and David Herndon blanked the Braves overrthe last five innings.

Heading into the final week I heard this nonsense on radio talk shows about how the Phils should not try and win, so St. Louis hopefully wouldn’t make the playoffs and be the Fightin’s first round opponent. After asll St. Louis won the season seiries between the two and beat the Phils three of four a couple weeks back in Philly.

Da- didn’t the Phillies win a franchise record 102 games in 2011? Win or lose this thing, the Phils can’t be worried about who their first round opponent wll be. St. Louis is red hot coming in and will be tough to beat. However, I think the Phils win in four games.

What in the word are we talking about. Sure you need to rest your players and don’t want to get anyone hurt. On theother hand, Atlanta is fighting for a playoff berth and the Phillies owe it to the Braves, St. Louis and themseles to play hard sand playas many of their top players as possible.

On the other side, Giradi said he wouldn’t use most of his regulars in the three game set at Tampa. He played few of his regulars in the first two games, both losses. To his credit he had stars like Jeter, Granderson, Teixeria, Cano in the lineup on Wednesday. After the Yanks swatted their way to a 7-0 lead, those players left the game.

Now, New York should have been able to hold that lead with the jayvee players in there. I didn’t expect, nor did anybody else including most Tampa fans, for the Rays to come back and eventually win 8-7 in 12 innings.

But, Tampa has so much heart and guts, you knew that team would fight hard right to the last out. Rays manager Joe Madden expects that from every player on his team. Crazier things have happened with so called games out of reach even ewith your top pitchers in the lineup.

Tampa scored six runs in the eighth, one in the ninth on a two-out homer by Dan Johnson and Evan Longoria won it with a homer in the 12th. This came about about three minutes after the Orioles put together an unbelieable two-out ninth inning rally to eliminate Boston in Baltimore.

Lets get it straight here – Boston didn’t lose out on the wild card because of what Giardi did. The Red Sox are responsible for their own woes. I’m sure to a man they will admit that. And lets give credit  to the scrappy Orioles, who were knocking off contenders like the Yankees, Detroit, the Angels and Boston last weekend  They wanted to spoil the party for Boston and did it in classic style.

Where was Dan David Robertson for the Yasnkees in the eighth inning when Tampa was scoring like crazy against the likes of Logan and Ayala? And where was Mtriano Rivera (the crowned best closer ever) in the ninth. Instead of closing things out, Johnson hits his first homer run since April with two strikes and two outs in the ninth to tie it up. Johnson is a dangerous pinch hitter, but is batting .119.

My man Charlie Manuel gets an A plus. While Giardi gets a D at best for his decisions to shut down his pitchers for extra rest.

Most baseball people and certainly Yankee fans will defend what Giardi did to the hilt. I’m not one of them. They have a 162 game regular season schedule for a reason.

PS. The Yanks should win the opening five game series, but don’t coynt out the Detroit Tigers. If Justin Verlande, leading candidate for the Cy Young and American league MVP awards, can hold serve, Detroit can win. Verlander has actually not piched that well against New York this year and Yanks starter C.C. Sabasthia, hasn’t done well against the Tigers.

Detroit was probably the hottest team in baseball the last month. And with manager Jim Leyland, it’s like having 10 men on the field.