Series Preview: New York Yankees @ Detroit Tigers (8/22-8/24)
The Wild Card leading Yankees will head to Comerica Park Tuesday for a three-game matchup against the mediocre Detroit Tigers following their series loss to the Boston Red Sox. The series featured many highs and lows for the Yankees pitching staff, as they took on a potent Boston offense which has been on fire recently. Thankfully, the Tigers offense won’t be as much of a challenge to pitch against this series, as they are currently sitting at a measly 54-69 and are 1-5 in their last six games. With a lackluster opponent waiting, the Yankees should solidify their postseason spot and possibly gain a few games on the Red Sox if they drop a game or two against the AL Central leading Cleveland Indians.
Masahiro Tanaka (8-10 4.92 ERA) vs. Matthew Boyd (5-6 5.70 ERA)
Game one of the series will take place on Tuesday and will feature a lackluster matchup with the shockingly bad Masahiro Tanaka going up against the similarly lackluster Matthew Boyd, in a duel of pitchers who both have been disappointing this season. Tanaka’s fall from grace has been detrimental to the Yankees’ rotation depth, and he will enter this start coming off the DL with shoulder issues, so not a ton should be expected of him. However, in his last start against the Tigers, he pitched solidly through six innings allowing only one run while striking out seven. If Tanaka can produce a similar outing and receive a few runs from the offense in their favorable matchup, the Yankees should easily handle this one.
GAME TWO (Wednesday, August 23 | First Pitch: 7:10 PM ET)
Luis Severino (10-5 3.18 ERA) vs. Jordan Zimmerman (7-10 5.87 ERA)
Game two of the series on Wednesday will feature a clearly favorable pitching matchup for the Yankees, with Luis Severino on the hill for the Bombers and Jordan Zimmerman on the hill for the Tigers. Other than his one horrendous start against the Red Sox back in mid-August, Severino has been consistently great for the Yankees as of late, and that shouldn’t stop against the Detroit offense. As for Zimmerman, he’s given up seven runs in his last two starts, but managed to stifle the Yankees offense back in early August as he pitched seven shutout innings. If the Yankees are able to prove that Zimmerman’s start was a fluke and Severino can pitch to his ability, this should once again be a Yankees win.
GAME THREE (Thursday, August 24 | First Pitch: 1:10 ET)
Jaime Garcia (5-8 4.52 ERA) vs Michael Fulmer (10-11 3.60 ERA)
The final game of the three-game set on Friday will feature trade deadline acquisition Jaime Garcia against last year’s AL Rookie of the Year in Michael Fulmer. Garcia has been largely disappointing in pinstripes, but this could be the game for him to turn it all around against the lowly Tigers. On the other side of the matchup, Fulmer has been very inconsistent this season, and is currently on a five-game streak of earning the loss in his starts. Fulmer has very solid stuff however, and could prove to be an issue for the Yankees, especially if they need to provide several runs to make up for a bad start by Garcia. This game could go either way realistically, but the Yankees still should stand as the favorites as long as Garcia keeps it close and Fulmer’s struggles continue.
Players to Watch
As mentioned above, this will be Tanaka’s first start coming off of the DL with shoulder issues. Going into his DL stint, Tanaka had been doing decently, giving up only four total earned runs in his most recent three starts. One of those starts saw Tanaka pitch like the ace he was in previous season, racking up fourteen strikeouts through eight innings against Tampa Bay. While this start may have been almost a month ago, it showed that Tanaka still has some of that ace magic in him. If he can bring that magic out in his start Tuesday, it’ll be a great way to start the series.
Judge enters this series with his 37-game strikeout steak intact and his struggles still very still much present. Since the All-Star Break, Judge has been in an insane slump which has sent him from AL MVP favorite to lineup question mark. With favorable pitching matchups this series, Judge should look to end his record breaking strikeout, which could be a distracting factor in his slump. Look for him to hit some bombs and hopefully lower the strikeouts.
|Photo Credit: AP|
Chapman has been a huge question mark as of late, with recurring inconsistent performances plaguing his resume. Many have recently called for his job as closer to be taken away from him and to be replaced with either Betances or Kahnle. This series could be a major determining factor on if Chapman holds on to the job or if someone else takes the role, so keep an eye on late game situations and who Girardi turns to.
The 2017 season hasn’t been kind to the two time MVP and Triple Crown winner, as he’s having a very down season by his standards. He has only 13 homeruns on the season, and he has yet to hit one this month. This has been a major part of the Tigers disappointing season, as their offense suffers tremendously without his threatening presence. This could be huge for the Yankees pitching staff, but Cabrera still has high impact hitting capabilities, so keep an eye on him as a big determining factor for this series.
Boyd’s pitching will be big if the Tigers hope to steal a game from the Yankees this series. He has largely been unable to get very far into games, going past six innings only once in his past ten appearances. These struggles may continue against the Yankees’ potent, yet inconsistent, lineup, and if Boyd isn’t able to get deep into his start, the Tigers will lose a game in which it’s possible for them to steal. A Boyd loss could very well create an easy sweep for the Yankees.
Overall, this series should be a 2-1 win or a sweep for the Yankees. New York is superior to the Tigers in almost every facet and although they’re coming off a series loss, the Tigers should be an easy bounce back opponent to reinforce the Wild Card lead. If the Yankees lose this series, they could very well see their wild card lead dim and fall back even further in the division race. This is an important series and one the Yankees must take.
Article by: Connor Thoms