Todd Jones, Tigers reliever, knows why the Tigers can beat up on the Royals and Devil Rays, but struggle against the Yankees, White Sox, and Twins.
They don't walk.
Pitchers like me are always trying to make hitters put the ball in play as early in counts as we can. When playing the Yankees -- as well as the Red Sox and all good-hitting teams -- you want to stay away from hitters counts -- 2-0, 3-1, 3-2, 2-2. Give those counts to the Yankees and you're in for a long day. Also, when your counts get long, the games get long. Game 2 of the Yanks-Sox doubleheader set the major league record for longest 9-inning game (4 hours, 45 minutes). That kind of pace puts your defense to sleep and can result in someone getting a ball hit down his throat because he wasn't totally ready.
Contrast that to the Tigers. We have a weakness that sometimes is our strength: We love to swing. We're aggressive, and, as a result, we swing at a lot of borderline pitches. Against teams with bad pitching, that's OK because they make mistakes over the middle of the plate. But it's a problem against teams that know how to expand hitters' strike zones.
Take note of the pitch counts in today's Yankees-Tigers doublheader two games that just happen to be played on the same day.