Yankees Look To Tame Tough Tigers Pitching

July 17, 2009   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

The Yankees open up the second half of the season by hosting the Detroit Tigers this weekend, as New York attempts to improve its dreadful 5-15 record versus first place opponents.

The Bombers won two of three at the AL Central leaders in late April but are 1-2 against the Phillies, 0-8 versus the Red Sox and 2-4 against the Angels, including a three game sweep to close out the first half.

The Yanks send their two best pitchers to the mound this weekend, but the Tigers answer with some firepower of their own.  Let’s take a look at the match-ups.


Friday, July 17 – A.J. Burnett (8-4, 3.77) vs. Luke French (1-0, 1.93)

Burnett is the hottest pitcher on the staff, posting a 4-1 record and a 1.34 ERA in his last five starts.  He’s also the only Pinstripes pitcher who has been able to tame the new hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium, going 3-1 with a 3.74 ERA in eight starts in the Bronx.

The former Blue Jay has a terrible 8.03 ERA in five career starts against the Tigers, but he usually gets a ton of run support in those games as evidenced by his 3-1 record. 

Gerald Laird (4-for-5, 2B), Brandon Inge (4-for-9, HR, 3 RBIs) and Magglio Ordonez (3-for-9, HR, 2 RBIs) have all had success against Burnett, but he tends to tame Placido Polanco (5-for-20), Carlos Guillen (2-for-12), Miguel Cabrera (1-for-6) and Curtis Granderson (1-for-11).

French was called up from Triple-A Toledo when Nate Robertson went on the DL in mid-May.  Since then, the 23-year-old left-hander has appeared in four games and made two starts.  His last effort was a solid 6.1 inning, 1 run victory over the Kansas City Royals.

The Yankees sometimes struggle against pitchers they haven’t seen before, but they are hitting .293 against lefties.

Prediction: Yankees 6, Tigers 4


Saturday, July 18 – CC Sabathia (8-6, 3.86) vs. Justin Verlander (10-4, 3.38)

This is the best pitching match-up of the weekend, as well as a rematch of the Tigers’ 4-2 victory on April 27.  Verlander got the win in that game, going seven shutout innings, while striking out nine and walking no one.  Sabathia also pitched well, but was done in by a three-run sixth.

CC is a better second half pitcher (3.39 ERA) than first half (3.89), but he’s been mediocre in 27 career starts against Detroit (13-10, 4.69).

Four different Tigers hitters have at least 40 at bats against Sabathia, so there shouldn’t be too many surprises.  Polanco (.325 avg), Guillen (.295) and Ordonez (17 RBIs in 59 at bats) have all inflicted their share of damage on Sabathia, but Inge is just 7-for-46.

Verlander is 3-1 with a 4.85 ERA in five starts against the Yankees.  Hideki Matsui (4-for-9), Brett Gardner (no at bats) and Jose Molina (1-for-4) should get the start over Nick Swisher (6-for-35), Melky Cabrera (1-for-8) and Jorge Posada (1-for-7) in this one.  Mark Teixeira is also just 1-for-10 against Verlander, who leads the league with 149 strikeouts.

Prediction: Tigers 5, Yankees 3


Sunday, July 19 – Joba Chamberlain (4-2, 4.25) vs. Edwin Jackson (7-4, 2.52)

On Old Timer’s Day in the Bronx, the Yankees send their young right-hander to the mound as he attempts to pick up his first win since June 24.  This might be the team to do it against because Joba pitched one of his best games of the season in an 8-6 victory at Detroit on April 29.  He gave up just one run on three hits through seven innings.

The entire Tigers roster is just 5-for-33 against Chamberlain, but he needs to overcome his woes at Yankee Stadium, where he’s 0-2 with a 5.36 ERA this season.

Jackson, who hasn’t lost since June 17, is one of the best pitchers in the AL this year.  His 2.52 ERA is second in the league and his 1.06 WHIP is bested by no one.  The right-hander pitched six scoreless frames against New York on April 28, but got a no decision when the Bombers exploded for 10 runs in the seventh en route to an 11-0 victory.

Look for Johnny Damon (3-for-22) to sit in favor of Cabrera (6-for-17), Swisher (4-12, 2 HRs) and Matsui (7-for-22).  Derek Jeter (11-for-27) and Alex Rodriguez (7-for-19, 8 RBIs) have also had success against Jackson, but what else is new?

Prediction: Yankees 2, Tigers 1


Follow me on Twitter at JordanHarrison.

Jordan Schwartz is Bleacher Report’s New York Yankees Community Leader. His book Memoirs of the Unaccomplished Man is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and authorhouse.com.

Jordan can be reached at jordanschwartz2003@yahoo.com

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