Game 22 Preview: Tigers at Yankees

Apr 23, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia pitches in the seventh inning against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Detroit Tigers (11-10) at New York Yankees (11-9)

Time/Place: 1:00 p.m. Yankee Stadium

SB Nation Blog: Pinstripe Alley

Media: Fox Sports Detroit, TBS, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network

Pitching Matchup: Max Scherzer (1-2, 8.24 ERA) vs. CC Sabathia (2-0, 5.27 ERA)

Like always, Sabathia has been an innings eater in 2012. He's gone at least 6 innings in each of his first four starts despite giving up at least 4 runs on three separate occasions. He's gotten a little unlucky in terms of home runs allowed. His current HR/FB rate is 16.0%, nearly double his career mark of 8.5%. His average fastball velocity is about 2 mph lower than it was last season, which may be a factor. In his last start, Sabathia went 8 innings and allowed 4 runs against the Texas Rangers.

Sabathia is 15-12 with a 4.54 ERA against the Tigers in his career. His numbers haven't gotten much better since he signed with New York. In three starts against Detroit last season (including Game 3 of the ALDS), Sabathia gave up at least 3 runs each time.

I don't really know what else to say about Scherzer at this point. He's been either lights out or mind-numbingly horrible in each of his four starts this season, and the scary part is that he's actually giving up home runs at a lower rate than he did last season. He's been pretty solid against the Yankees in his career, putting up a 3-0 record and a 2.84 ERA in 3 starts. Most of those earned runs came in a 5 IP, 9 H, 6 ER outing last April. He also got the win because the Tigers put up 10 runs. His last start at Yankee Stadium was Game 2 of the ALDS, in which Scherzer allowed just 2 hits and no runs in 6 innings.

Derek Jeter's resurgence

Jeter hit .297 last season, but didn't hit for much power, slugging just .355. In 2010, Jeter hit .270, the lowest mark of his career (other than his 15 game call-up in 1995). It seems as if he found the fountain of youth this offseason, because he's off to a blistering start in 2012. Jeter leads the major league in hits and already has 4 home runs and 6 doubles. His 1.012 OPS won't last, but it's not a stretch to say that it could be above .800 for the first time since 2009. He has no hits in this series, however, and has only been on base one time.

Outlook

Look for the top of the lineup to do some damage today. Austin Jackson and Brennan Boesch have good career numbers against Sabathia, and Miguel Cabrera has a .500/.593/.889 slash line against the big lefty. Hopefully Gerald Laird gets the start behind the plate; his career average against Sabathia is .471, while Alex Avila's is .091. Even if the Tigers get to Sabathia early, don't be surprised if he stays in the game for a while to save the Yankees' bullpen. Scherzer needs to limit the amount of runners on base for when a pop-up inevitably finds the short porch in right field.

Prediction

Blue-eyed Scherzer shows up this afternoon, but still lets a couple fly balls get into the jet stream. Sabathia pitches at least 6 innings.

Gameday Reading:

Detroit Tigers' Ryan Raburn not in lineup after leg tightness forces him out of game Friday night - MLive, Chris Iott
Raburn is not likely to play today either, so it looks like we'll be seeing either Ramon Santiago or Danny Worth at 2nd base. Hope for Santiago, who has a career .333 average against Sabathia.

Skowron’s Yankees Legacy Worthy of Greater Tribute - Pinstripe Alley, William Juliano
A nice look at Bill "Moose" Skowron, who played first base for the Yankees in the '50s and '60s. Skowron passed away on Friday.

Know Thy Enemy: 2012 New York Yankees - DesigNate Robertson
Better late than never.

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