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New York Yankees vs. Detroit Tigers: Series preview

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Another inferior team comes to town. Will the Yankees take advantage?

Chicago White Sox v New York Yankees Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The Yankees remain in the Bronx for a four-game set against the Tigers before heading out west. The Bombers will look to take advantage of a Tigers team that’s 25 games under .500. If the Yankees want to continue to nibble away at their AL East deficit, they’ll have to take care of business at home. Fortunately, they will miss the Tigers’ best starter in Michael Fulmer. But how do the rest of the pitching matchups look?

Game one: J.A. Happ vs. Francisco Liriano

New York starts the series with one of their best on the mound. Happ has been superb for the Yankees. The left-hander has a 2.37 ERA in five starts since putting on the pinstripes, and the Bombers have won all five of those outings. Four of those five starts have come in the Bronx, so Happ is clearly comfortable throwing in Yankee Stadium. If he wants to keep the success going, he’ll have to do a better job against Nicholas Castellanos, who is 11-for-19 in his career against the southpaw.

Meanwhile, the Yankees will see an opponent they have enjoyed some success off of in Liriano, who has a 6.43 ERA since the Fourth of July. The current roster owns an .829 OPS against the souhtpaw, including a 4-for-7 clip from Aaron Hicks, and even a 5-for-13 mark from Shane Robinson. Who knows, maybe Robinson will get something done at the plate in the series opener. We won’t hold our breath though.

Game two: Luis Severino vs. Jordan Zimmermann

Yankees fans are still waiting for the real Severino to surface, but the right-hander has been slowly rising of late. The slider still isn’t all the way back, but Severino has been mostly better. He’s been grinding through starts against lesser offenses, which is an improvement from the 7.50 ERA he posted in the seven starts leading up to his previous two. Severino carries a 3.27 ERA into the start, and has had success against these Tigers in the past, save for Castellanos, who is 6-for-12 against Severino.

Zimmermann gets the ball for the Tigers in game two, and has been putting together a very up-and-down August. He followed a 6.1 inning shutout with a clunker against the White Sox, the rebounded to allow just one run over six innings against the Cubs, before giving up five runs over six innings to the White Sox again. He has a 4.38 ERA on the season, and luckily for him, his biggest Yankee tormentors — Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorius —will be out with injuries, so someone else on the team will have to step up.

Game three: Masahiro Tanaka vs. TBD

Tanaka closes out the series for the Yankees. He allowed four runs on 10 hits over seven frames in that last start, but on the bright side, he kept the ball in the park. Tanaka’s susceptibility to the home run is well documented, but he fortunately has done a solid job of avoiding the big blow against these Tigers, who have just a .439 slugging percentage against Tanaka in his career.

Game four: Lance Lynn vs. Matthew Boyd

Boyd doesn’t have much experience against the Yankees — who have an .836 OPS in 21 at-bats against him — but he is coming off a rough outing against the lowly Royals, who hung five runs through six innings against the southpaw. This comes after a six-inning shutout performance against the White Sox in his previous outing. We’ll see which Boyd shows up on Sunday, but the Yankees hope it’s the more recent version. Boyd has a 4.22 ERA on the season.

The Yankees are hoping for the less recent version of Lynn in the series finale, as the right-hander has struggled in his his past three outings, compiling a 7.80 ERA in that span. He allowed three runs over 5.2 in his last start, but a Neil Walker walk-off helped him avoid the loss. Lynn has faced the Tigers twice this year, both in a Twins uniform. He tossed 6.2 shutout innings in the first start, and allowed three runs over 6.2 in the second.