The New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers meet this afternoon in the rubber game of the three-game set. Phil Hughes is set to take the mound against the 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander.
Hughes has come under fire this season for his inability to beat good hitting teams. He has struggled for much of the season due to the inability to get batters out once he gets ahead of them in the count. He has forced the Yankees into a position where they may need to make a change with him in the rotation very soon. The Yanks cannot afford to keep trotting Hughes out there knowing that five or even six runs is not enough for him to hold down a lead.
Hughes is 4-5 with a 5.64 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP. In 35.2 innings (six starts) versus the Tigers in his career he has a 4-3 record and a 5.43 ERA. Hughes may want to think about walking the red-hot Miguel Cabrera today. Cabrera is 7-for-16 with 3 homers and 6 RBI in his career against Hughes.
On the other side of the field, the Tigers have done little to support Verlander. A look at his peripheral stats show a pitcher virtually as dominant as he was last season, but he has only five victories to show for it. Verlander has a 2.55 ERA and a league-leading 0.855 WHIP. He’s tossed three complete games (one shutout) and has struck out 82 hitters, also topping the league.
Compared with other teams the Yankees have had some “success” against Verlander in the past. He is 4-3 with a 4.11 ERA in 11 starts against the Bombers. The Yankees roster has a combined .206 batting average against Verlander, so if they have a chance to win, it will likely be because they were able to scratch across some runs. Derek Jeter is 12-for-36 in his career against Verlander while Mark Teixeira is an abysmal 3-for-29.
Facing Verlander in the rubber-game of a series is not a situation many teams would like to find themselves in. For the Yankees it will be even more difficult with their own starter unable to hold down potent offenses. If Hughes is once again unproductive, the Yankees will have to think long and hard about letting him make another start.
- Derek Jeter (SS)
- Curtis Granderson (CF)
- Alex Rodriguez (DH)
- Robinson Cano (2B)
- Mark Teixeira (1B)
- Raul Ibanez (LF)
- Nick Swisher (RF)
- Eric Chavez (3B)
- Russell Martin (C)