Sidney Ponson (7-5, 4.80) vs. Justin Verlander (10-14, 4.53)
It almost took four months, thanks to a rainout, but after splitting the first two games of their series back in May, the Tigers and Yankees will spend what was supposed to be their Labor Day holiday playing for the series win this afternoon at Comerica Park. Today's game will be televised on TBS (though will be blacked out locally in the Detroit area because of the FSN Detroit broadcast), so if you don't always get a chance to watch the Tigers out-state, here you go.
Tigers fans also have an opportunity today to welcome back Pudge Rodriguez. Any chance a mulligan can be called on that Pudge-Farnsworth trade? No? Past the deadline? Oh well, it was worth a shot.
Can a team with Sidney Ponson in its starting rotation make the playoffs? The Yankees are trying their best, but barring a collapse by the Red Sox, Twins, and White Sox, they're likely going to fall short. Ponson has allowed 11 runs in his last two starts (covering 6 2/3 innings), which might mean he's due for a good game here, because he's been that kind of inconsistent. Since joining the Yankees after the Rangers designated him for assignment, Ponson has a 3-4 record and 5.64 ERA in 11 starts.
Justin Verlander has some bouncing back to do after a bad start against the Indians. (Well, it would've been less bad if he hadn't teed up a fastball to Kelly Shoppach for a two-run homer, but he did, so...) Working efficiently continues to be a problem for Verlander, as he's thrown 110 or more pitches after six innings in each of his last three appearances. In three regular season starts against the Yankees, Verlander is 2-0 with a 4.67 ERA.
Pinstripe Alley provides your SB Nation opposing view for this holiday matinee make-up game.
And on a much more serious note, our hearts and best wishes go out to those facing Hurricane Gustav. Here at BYB, I know we have at least a couple of friends who could find themselves in the storm's path and our thoughts are with them. Please take care.