Yankees @ Tigers Series Preview

After a pretty nice home stand in which the Yankees took four out seven including the last two, they will now hit the road for a seven game road trip starting with a four game set in Detroit.  The Yanks took two out of three from the Tigers in the first series of 2011, but in the game they did lose they scored seven runs, but couldn’t overcome a Phil Hughes outing.

The one to look out for. (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The Tiger enter this series sitting in third place in the American League Central, 7.5 games back of the Cleveland Indians and are on a six game losing streak and have lost seven of their last eleven which leave many asking how much time manager Jim Leyland has with the club.

Offensively, the Tigers have been nothing special.  They rank in the bottom half of the Majors in home runs, stolen bases, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and wOBA.  Young center fielder and product of the Yankees organization Austin Jackson is certainly suffering from a sophomore slump hitting .181 with a .231 wOBA and posting a 34.3 K% as opposed to his 2010 total of 27.5%.  However, Miguel Cabrera has been fantastic hitting .333/.460/.626 with 7 homers and 20 RBI’s and Brennan Boesch has seemingly recovered from his awful end to last year as he is at .313/.382/.438 with 1 homer and 13 RBI’s.  It should also be noted that they are on track to get Victor Martinez back on Wednesday.  Here’s the full projected lineup for the Tigers:

  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Will Rhymes, 2B
  3. Magglio Ordonez, DH
  4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  5. Brennan Boesch, RF
  6. Ryan Raburn, LF
  7. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  8. Alex Avila, C
  9. Brandon Inge, 3B

The Tigers starting rotation hasn’t been great either as they rank in the bottom half of the Majors in ERA, FIP, and innings pitched.  Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer have been very good so far and Rick Porcello has been meh, but Brad Penny and Phil Coke haven’t been too good.  Here are the pitching match-ups:

Monday

Bartolo Colon (2-1, 2.77 ERA) vs. Justin Verlander (2-3, 3.64 ERA)

Tuesday

CC Sabathia (2-1, 2.25 ERA) vs. Brad Penny (1-3, 6.11 ERA)

Wednesday

Freddy Garcia (1-1, 2.00 ERA) vs. Max Scherzer (4-0, 3.82 ERA)

Thursday

AJ Burnett (4-1, 3.93 ERA) vs. Rick Porcello (1-2, 4.25 ERA)

As far as the bullpen goes, the Tigers haven’t been good their either.  The addition of Joaquin Benoit hasn’t helped as they have the worst ERA of any bullpen in the Majors.  This is definitely a spot the Yankees should try to exploit.

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

The keys for the Bombers in this series are pretty simple.  Offensively, they just need to work counts and get on base and try to get into that weak Detroit bullpen.  Brett Gardner and Nick Swisher, two guys that have been struggling, will be key in this because they are notorious for making a pitcher work.  Pitching-wise, the starter just need to keep the line moving meaning they just need to keep throwing strikes, changing speeds, and working deep into the game.  It has been no coincidence that since the rotation has stepped up its game, the pen has as well.  Since the arms out there are fresher, they are being more effective.

So that’s it.  All we can do now is wait for things to play out.  I see the Yanks taking three out of four.  The first game will be Monday night at 7:05 on the YES network.

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