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10/02/06 2:20 AM ET

Tigers-Yankees: Rotation analysis

  New York Yankees

 Chien-Ming Wang RHP
GAME 1 STARTER: Wang has emerged as the Yankees' biggest winner. He's a ground ball machine when his heavy sinker is working. With velocity in the mid-90s and an effective slider, he can be very pitch efficient when his command is on.
Season numbers: (19-6, 3.63 ERA)
Pitches: Sinker, slider, fastball
Speed: Mid 90s

 Mike Mussina RHP
GAME 2 STARTER: Mussina is still a highly effective and sometimes baffling pitcher for the opposition. His fastball velocity is generally in the upper 80s now, but that's not the issue. When Paul Molitor, during his Hall of Fame career, was once asked if all four of Mussina's pitches were working, he responded: "I counted six." Mussina was bothered periodically by a groin strain during the regular season, but if he's healthy he could be the key in this rotation.
Season numbers: (15-7, 3.51 ERA)
Pitches: Fastball, curveball, changeup, slider
Speed: Mid-to-upper 80s

 Randy Johnson LHP
GAME 3 STARTER: The Big Unit can still occasionally hit 96 with his fastball, but at this point in his career, his slider needs to be on for him to work successfully. When that pitch is working, diving down and in on right-handed hitters, he's still tough. He also can set off the fastball with a splitter. A disc problem in his back caused him to miss his last start of the regular season. That's a red flag for a 43-year-old with a history of back problems. The Yankees have to hope that he still has one healthy October coming.
Season numbers: (17-11, 5.00 ERA)
Pitches: Fastball, slider, splitter
Speed: High 80s to low 90s

 Jaret Wright RHP
GAME 4 STARTER: He bounced back from injuries to grab a spot in the rotation with improvement in the second half of the season. He throws a mid-90s fastball along with a sinker and a splitter.
Season numbers: (11-7, 4.49 ERA)
Pitches: Fastball, sinker, splitter
Speed: Mid 90s

  Detroit Tigers

 Nate Robertson LHP
GAME 1 STARTER: Another young Tiger power arm who only needs more consistency to become a big winner. Robertson, however, put to rest the notion that he didn't have the stamina to be an innings eater this year by leading the staff in innings pitched entering the final week of the season and going 2-1 with a 1.29 ERA in his first four September starts. Robertson has worked six innings or more in each of his last 18 starts and is especially tough when his slider is working.
Season numbers: (13-13, 3.84 ERA)
Pitches: Fastball, slider, changeup
Speed: Low-to-mid 90s

 Justin Verlander RHP
GAME 2 STARTER: The No. 2 pick of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, Verlander has emerged as one of the best young power pitchers in the game. His fastball has been clocked as high as 99 mph, and he gets it to the plate following an abbreviated delivery. Verlander has a plus curveball and a decent changeup. When all three pitches are working, Verlander is practically unhittable. He can get into trouble when he leaves his pitches up in the zone.
Season numbers: (17-9, 3.63 ERA)
Pitches: Fastball, curve, changeup, slider
Speed: Low 90s to high 90s

 Kenny Rogers LHP
GAME 3 STARTER: Rogers doesn't throw as hard as he once did but he still has good movement on his fastball and knows how to spot it well. He doesn't use the slider as often these days, but it hasn't hurt his performance as his curveball and slider are both fine complements to his fastball. The veteran uses his defense extremely well. Defensively, Rogers himself remains one of the best in either league. He's had a great pickoff move for years.
Season numbers: (17-8, 3.84 ERA)
Pitches: Fastball, curveball, changeup, slider
Speed: Low 80s to low 90s

 Jeremy Bonderman RHP
GAME 4 STARTER: Bonderman has excellent stuff, but like a lot of young pitchers, he struggles with command at times and is still learning how to pitch to Major League hitters. Bonderman relies on a mid to high-90s fastball complemented by a sharp breaking slider, but his splitter is coming on as another out pitch. He doesn't use his changeup often, and for good reason as it his least reliable pitch. Had a solid first half but has had an ERA of around 5.00 since the break.
Season numbers: (14-8, 4.08 ERA)
Pitches: Fastball, slider, splitter, changeup
Speed: Mid-to-high 90s

Michael Bauman is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.