A.J.

A.J. Burnett will start for the Yankees on Tuesday with their season on the line.

John Smoltz called it. Rafael Soriano did not heed the former All-Star's words. And Delmon Young made him pay.

Be careful on the first pitch, Smoltz said from the announcers' booth, before Soriano delivered a pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning to Young.

Young took the first pitch, out and away, over the right field fence. He gave the Detroit Tigers the lead for good Monday night, and the 5-4 margin stuck as the Yankees' comeback efforts fell short again in the eighth and ninth innings.

Jose Valverde's prediction is halfway there. The Tigers are one game away from shocking the Yankees again in the ALDS.

The Tigers will try to close out the series Tuesday night in Detroit. The Yankees, by no fortune of their own, will send A.J. Burnett to the mound in their first must-win game of the season. The Tigers will counter with their own shaky pitcher, Rick Porcello.

This was the marquee matchup that was supposed to happen two games ago - and probably Tuesday night. CC Sabathia vs. Justin Verlander.

But rain forced the issue too late on Friday, and both pitchers came back after throwing having their starts halted on Friday. For Verlander, there were points during which the chinks in his armor were on display.

But Sabathia struggled with his command and precision all night. He walked six batters all season in the first inning. He walked three in the first inning Monday night. The Yankees' most dependable pitcher walked six and struck out just three, throwing an uncanny 106 pitches in just 5 1/3 innings.

The Yankees mounted a comeback, but Derek Jeter struck out with runners on first and second to end the game.

Can the Tigers wrap things up Tuesday? Here's an in-depth look at the key matchups:

A.J. Burnett vs. Miguel Cabrera

No Detroit hitter has fared particularly well against Burnett over the past five years, but Cabrera is the obvious threat. Even his outs - like his 410-foot fly out Monday night - have been hit hard lately. He could take advantage of the always-shaky Burnett.

Rick Porcello vs. Mark Teixeira

Why Teixeira? Because his Yankee postseason struggles are starting to get noticed. He's now 16-for-99 as a Yankee in the postseason. He's lucky that Alex Rodriguez is still the one getting booed at Yankee Stadium. Time for Teixeira to produce - he also has just one hit in his last seven at-bats against Porcello.

The Yankees vs. Jose Valverde

Valverde might be brash in his predictions, but he's doing everything he can to make those predictions a little fuzzier. He struggled for the second straight day Monday, needing another 19 pitches - just seven for strikes - to navigate through five Yankee hitters before closing out the game. Despite throwing more than 50 pitches through the last two days, Valverde will be out on the mound with the series on the line. If he tests the waters again, the Yankees need to make him pay.