Justin Verlander is the star hedge fund manager who has a stunning Fifth Avenue apartment and beautiful house right on the water in Amagansett, but could really use a country cottage, too.

The Yankees are the block of land he needs to acquire.

"Obviously that's a dream of mine, to help pitch my team to a World Series championship," the Tigers' ace and American League Championship Game 3 starter said yesterday in a conference call. "And that's a big reason why I admire those guys. You talk about Roger [Clemens] and Curt [Schilling], and obviously everybody knows what they did in the postseason.

"I want to be associated with those guys, a guy that stepped up in the postseason for my team."

The reigning American League Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Award winner, a strong candidate to repeat in the latter category, Verlander will try to push the Tigers to their first World Series title since 1984 and get his first ring.

By drawing the Yankees, he can carve out an ancillary niche: He can join guys like Schilling and Cliff Lee in The Bronx's Pantheon of Feared and Loathed October Opposing Pitchers. With his Tigers up two games to none, the right-hander can all but end this round by pitching as well as he did in the AL Division Series against Oakland.

"It's a fun challenge" Mark Teixeira said. "You might think we're crazy to say that, but it is a fun challenge, because if you're going to win a World Series, you've got to beat the best. And he's the best right now."