Luke French (1-0, 1.93) vs. A.J. Burnett (8-4, 3.77), 7:05 p.m. EST
Your wait is over! After four days without meaningful baseball, the Tigers return to the field to take on the team with the second-best record in the American League.
Some people might feel that's a tough draw coming out of the All-Star break, but I think it's good to jump into the deep end right away. Against a lesser opponent, the Tigers might have a little trouble shaking off the rust. But they'll have to be sharp right away against the Yankees. And this would be a great time for Detroit to make a statement that they should be taken seriously in the American League.
Facing A.J. Burnett to begin the second half of the season is a tough way to live, though. He's given up two runs or fewer in his past five starts. In his last outing, however, Burnett was a little bit shaky, allowing four walks and seven hits in 6.1 innings of work. He also threw only two strikeouts, tying his lowest total of the season. Burnett has a 3-1 record in five career starts against the Tigers, despite an 8.03 ERA. He beat Detroit both times he faced them last year, however (though he posted a 5.73 ERA).
Welcome to the big leagues, Luke French. Sure, he's had four major league appearances to this point, but starting in Yankee Stadium carries a bit more with it. Besides that, maybe you've heard how frequently balls are flying over the fences in the new place. French has been good in his first two starts, giving up a total of four runs in 11 innings. But the Twins and Royals don't have the same ammunition in their lineups that the Yankees do. Joe Girardi's crew has scored 495 runs this season, 30 more than their next closest competitor (the Red Sox).
However, the Yankees have apparently had problems against pitchers they haven't seen before. (Hmm, that sounds familiar.) Or they haven't, depending on who you read. And if you look at Burnett vs. French and think "total mismatch," remember that you may have been thinking the same thing before French opposed Zack Greinke in his last start. How'd that one work out?
Pinstripe Alley has your SB Nation opposing view for this weekend's series.