After dropping another series to the Red Sox, the Yankees have plenty of work to do as September beckons. They still top the Wild Card standings, but are now five games back in the division race. The Bombers need to close that gap before their final series with Boston over Labor Day weekend. Hopefully a series with the lowly Tigers will help get things going.
Detroit has dropped eight of their last 10 and sit 15 games under .500. The Yankees won’t have to see Justin Verlander in this series, either. That’s another bonus. With an upcoming home stand against three contending teams looming, the time is now to rattle off a winning streak.
Here are your pitching matchups for the three-game set:
Game One: Masahiro Tanaka vs Matt Boyd
Tanaka returns to the mound on Tuesday after a brief stint on the disabled list courtesy of some shoulder inflammation. He will try and set the tone in the series opener. He still hasn’t been his 2016 self, but he has been better overall since the All-Star break. If he comes back healthy, things will look good.
Tanaka battled through his last start as he struggled with command issues. He wound up exiting with two earned runs and five walks. He will have to command the zone better, especially against Victor Martinez. The designated hitter has a home run and five RBI over 10 career at-bats against Tanaka.
Boyd had a very strong start against a dangerous Astros lineup back on July 29th, but since then has surrendered 13 earned runs in 15.1 innings. That inflated his ERA to 5.70. The left-hander has not faced the Yankees this year, and has little experience against them aside from Todd Frazier. He handled the third baseman in 15 career at-bats, surrendering just a solo home run for a batting average of .067.
Game Two: Luis Severino vs Jordan Zimmermann
Severino appeared to return to form in his last start, feasting on a weak Mets’ lineup. He turned in 6.1 innings of one-run ball while striking out nine. His ERA is a highly respectable 3.18, even after that nightmare start against Boston earlier this month. Severino doesn’t have too much experience against the Tigers, but has had a tough time against Nick Castellanos, who is 4-5 with an OPS of 1.633 against him.
Zimmermann struggled in his last two outings, to put it lightly. He allowed 14 earned over a span of just 8.2 innings, spiking his ERA to 5.87. He handled the Yankees for seven shutout innings back on August 2nd, but hopefully the Bombers see this version of the 31-year-old.
Chase Headley likely doesn’t want to see Zimmermann ever again. Not after striking out 11 times in 27 career at-bats against him. That works out to a batting average of .185 and an OPS of .464. Didi Gregorius has enjoyed his time against the right-hander a bit more, though, collecting four hits in 13 at-bats, including a home run.
Game Three: Jaime Garcia vs Michael Fulmer
Garcia has basically been the quintessential fifth starter since coming to the Yankees. Joe Girardi would like to see him cut back on the walks and manage his pitch count a little better, though. Garcia has walked at least three batters in all of his starts with the Bombers. That explains his inability to make it out of the sixth inning so far in his pinstriped tenure. Garcia never faced the Tigers and has seen only Justin Upton in his career, who has a home run and a double in eight at-bats against the southpaw.
Fulmer’s up and down sophomore season continues coming into his start against the Yankees. After going through a span of two starts in which he surrendered 11 earned runs in 11 innings, Fulmer came back and shut down the Dodgers on Saturday. He tossed seven shutout innings despite the Detroit offense failing to get him a win. Fulmer has a 3.60 ERA this season, and has held the Yankees to a .218 batting average in 55 at-bats. The only home run for the Bombers against Fulmer came courtesy of Aaron Judge. Todd Frazier has seen a good amount of Fulmer during his time in the AL Central, though, and is 4-17 with five strikeouts against the right-hander.