Game 110 Preview: Yankees at Tigers

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 01: Rick Porcello # 48 of the Detroit Tigers pitches against the Boston Red Sox during the game on August 1, 2012 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

New York Yankees (63-45) at Detroit Tigers (59-50)

Time/Place: 7:00 p.m., Comerica Park

SB Nation Blog: Pinstripe Alley

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

Pitching Matchup: RHP Phil Hughes (11-8, 3.96 ERA) vs. RHP Rick Porcello (8-6, 4.65 ERA)

Prior to Hughes' first start against the Tigers this season, he had a 5.64 ERA. Nine innings later, he had thrown a complete game and lowered his ERA to 4.96. At the time, it seemed like the Tigers' offense was to blame, but this isn't really the case. Hughes is 7-3 since the start of June with a 2.77 ERA. This return to 2010 form is a big reason why the Yankees have run away from the rest of the AL East and will likely own the AL's best record at the end of the season.

According to Fangraphs' WAR, this will be Porcello's best season of his young career so far. This is largely based on his 3.62 FIP, a number that actually went down in July despite his 5.40 ERA during that month. If his .348 season BABIP would normalize somewhat, we would start to see the types of results from Porcello that these advanced statistics are indicating. Kid Rick was solid against the Yankees on June 2nd, allowing just one run in 6 innings of work.

Outlook

One pitcher in this matchup can't keep the ball in the yard, while the other has only allowed one home run since the start of June. Based on recent trends, you would think that Porcello is the former and Hughes is the latter, but this isn't the case. Hughes used the spacious Comerica outfield to his advantage in his last start, but as with Ivan Nova last night, it may be his downfall this time around.

Prediction

Both starters struggle to get through 6 innings and the Tigers' bullpen is the difference tonight.

Gameday Reading:

Yankees Lose - Pinstripe Alley, Mark Duggan
Yeah, sounds about right.

Verlander Fans 14, Swisher Cries, Cabrera Hits Another 450 Foot Home Run - Walkoff Woodward, Cameron Scott
"This was possibly one of the most impressive pitching performances of Verlander’s career, and arguably the best this season."

Hughes's Last Start in Detroit Marked Beginning of Turnaround - The New York Times, David Waldstein
"Hughes went into that game with a 4-5 record and a 5.64 earned run average. Since then, he is 7-3 with a 2.77 E.R.A., so returning to Detroit gives him a pleasing demarcation point for his season."

Curtis Granderson vs. Breaking Balls - Pinstripe Alley, Matt Keegan
"It's pretty well detailed how Granderson's free swinging and has gotten just a little bit more free this season. The slash line is down, the strikeout rate is up and he looks genuinely confused in many at-bats."

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