Continued from page 1

With the starters pitching brilliantly, Detroit’s big concern right now is the bullpen. Valverde allowed the Yankees to tie Game 1 with four runs in the ninth, and although the Tigers won 6-4 in the 12th, Detroit manager Jim Leyland needed to change plans a bit. He used Phil Coke to close out a 3-0 win in Game 2, and the left-hander pitched the final two innings.

Coke may be a viable option against a New York lineup with plenty of left-handed power, but it’s clear the situation is still in flux.

“I am just going to play it out and see what happens, see what kind of matchup there is,” Leyland said. “Find out who they have coming up, who the matchup will be, probably go from there. I am hoping that Valverde in the very near future is ready to take back over. As I said, that is pretty important that we have him.”

Of course, if Detroit’s rotation keeps up its record pace, the pressure on the bullpen could be minimal. Can the Yankees possibly hit this poorly for another few days? Leyland is skeptical.

“We’re just hoping we can keep the Yankees from swinging the bats too good,” Leyland said. “You are certainly concerned about it because they are just too good. They are too good of hitters and you know they will break out at some point. You just try to shut them down to the best of your ability and scratch out a few runs. The runs are pretty much at a premium so far.”