New York Yankees (9-9) @ Detroit Tigers (10-8)

Monday April 27, 7:05 pm – TV: YES, Radio: CBS 880, 94.3 FM

Tuesday April 28, 7:05 pm – TV: YES, Radio: CBS 880, 94.3 FM

Wednesday April 29, 7:05 pm – TV: YES, Radio: CBS 880, 94.3 FM

Preview:

The Yankees head to Detroit for their fifth away series of the season after getting swept by the Boston Red Sox.  Detroit heads home after a nine-game away trip which culminated in a winning series in Kansas City which elevated the Tigers to the top of the AL Central Standings.

The teams are very similar offensively.  The Tigers have a .276 batting average, the Yankees a .274.  The Tigers have scored 102 runs, the Yankees 100.  Both teams have had some issues with their starting pitching, the difference though lies in their bullpens.  The Yankees bullpen started off hot and has blown several games as of late.  The Tigers have had a somewhat consistent bullpen.  It is not the best in the majors by far, but it has kept Detriot in games.

Phil Hughes will get his first start of the season on Tuesday.  Hughes is 3-0 with a 1.86 ERA and 19 SO in 19 1/3 innings for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.  He is coming off a solid spring and a decent offseason, which saw him put in time in the Arizona Fall League to prove himself.  I think he will be a welcome addition to the Yankees rotation this time around.

Making History

Derek Jeter will become the Yankee career leader in at-bats Monday night.  He is currently tied with Mickey Mantle a 8,102.  Chalk this up to his durability as a player to be able to do this so young in his career.  With another 5+ seasons possible, Captain Clutch might just be able to pass 10,000.  Pete Rose is the all-time leader at 14,053.

With tonight’s game, Jorge Posada will have played in 1,500 games.

Pitching Matchups:

Monday: LHP CC Sabathia (1-1, 4.81) vs. RHP Justin Verlander (0-2, 9.00)

Tuesday: RHP Phil Hughes (0-0, 0.00) vs. RHP Edwin Jackson (1-1, 2.77)

Wednesday: RHP Joba Chamberlain (0-0, 3.94) vs. RHP Rick Porcello (1-2, 3.75)

Keys to Winning the Series:

The Tigers need to take advantage of the Yankees weaknesses – pitching.  If they can get a few runs off the starter, the bullpen most likely won’t hold on and keep the Yankees offense in the game.  The Yankees are averaging over 5.5 runs per game, but are allowing almost 7 runs a game.

The Yankees need to play better defense.  Only seven teams in the entire AL and NL have scored 100 runs so far this season.  All seven are in the AL, and four are in the AL East.  However, only two have allowed more then 115, the Yankees (122) and Baltimore (128).  The Yankees need to remember that old NFL mantra: Offense sells tickets; Defense wins championships.