NEW YORK YANKEES
at DETROIT TIGERS
American League Championship Series Game 3 – Tigers lead series 2-0
First pitch: Tuesday, 8:05 p.m. EDT
Line: Detroit -180, New York +170, Total: 7
Looking to build a 3-0 lead in the ALCS, the Tigers will send ace Justin Verlander to the hill Tuesday night to take on the Yankees and Phil Hughes.
Verlander is amid another potential Cy Young season with a 19-8 record, 2.51 ERA and 1.04 WHIP (including postseason). But he managed to be even more dominant at home where he compiled a 10-2 record, 1.63 ERA and 0.95 WHIP. More impressive than any of those splits is the fact that he has won each of his past six starts, a span in which he has pitched 44 innings and allowed just three earned runs with 49 K's. In the ALDS, he went 2-0, allowing just one run with 22 K's in 16 innings. Hughes has pitched to a 16-13 record this season with a 4.14 ERA (includes postseason), but struggled on the road with a 5-9 record, 4.76 ERA and 1.35 WHIP. He's also carrying a 5.48 ERA in his past four outings. He also has to pitch for a Yankees offense that is averaging just 2.2 runs in its past six games, and now must now play without Derek Jeter (ankle), who was one of the lone functioning pieces of their lineup. Even as a heavy favorite, take DETROIT and the best pitcher in baseball here.
This pair of three-star FoxSheets trends also side with the Tigers:
Play Against - All underdogs with a money line of +150 or more (NY YANKEES) - with a starting pitcher whose ERA is 4.20 or better on the season (AL) against opponent with a starting pitcher whose strikes out 5 or more batters per start. (169-55 over the last 5 seasons.) (75.4%, +68.5 units. Rating = 3*).
Play On - Home teams (DETROIT) - with a starting pitcher whose WHIP is 1.100 or better on the season-AL against opponent with a starting pitcher whose WHIP is 1.300 or better on the season-AL. (132-56 over the last 5 seasons.) (70.2%, +60.9 units. Rating = 3*).
The loss of Derek Jeter was a crushing blow to the Yankees, who are hitting a pithy .205 in the playoffs with a .278 on-base percentage. Jeter was hitting .333 in the playoffs, but his teammates sit at a collective .190 BA this postseason. The Pinstripes went scoreless in their lone postseason game without Jeter, falling to Detroit 3-0 the last time out. On the other side of the ball, Hughes pitched very well in the ALDS, allowing just one run on four hits in 6.2 innings, walking three and fanning eight batters. He has started against the Tigers eight times in his career, working to a decent 4-4 record, 4.50 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. But his last time against Detroit, he gave up four runs on eight hits in 4.1 innings. Both Miguel Cabrera (9-for-20, 4 HR, 9 RBI) and Jhonny Peralta (8-for-17, .647 slugging) have tagged Hughes in their careers. He at least has a stellar bullpen supporting him, with Yankee relievers owning a 3.14 ERA on the road this season with 229 strikeouts in 220.2 innings.
The Detroit lineup has struggled in the playoffs, but not to the degree of the New York hitters. The Tigers are averaging 3.7 runs per game in the playoffs on a .258 batting average and .292 OBP. Verlander is 6-4 in his career against the Bronx Bombers with a 3.94 ERA and 1.50 WHIP. This includes a 5.02 ERA and 1.53 WHIP in three playoff appearances against them. However, he gave up two runs (zero earned) in eight innings with a whopping 14 strikeouts when he last faced New York on August 6. Although Alex Rodriguez has been awful in the postseason (3-for-23, 12 K's), he is 8-for-24 with 3 HR's in his career versus Verlander. However, the right-hander has owned Mark Teixeira (3-for-31), Raul Ibanez (3-for-29) and Nick Swisher (11-for-55, 20 K's) in his career. Verlander is averaging 7.6 innings per start at home this year, leaving little room for his bullpen. Tigers relievers have a 3.38 ERA and 1.22 WHIP at home this year with a 19-9 record.