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Game 54 Preview: Yankees at Tigers

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Terminator X
Terminator X

New York Yankees (28-24) at Detroit Tigers (25-28)

Time/Place: 1:00 p.m., Comerica Park

SB Nation Blog: Pinstripe Alley

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

Pitching Matchup: Phil Hughes (4-5, 5.64 ERA) vs. Justin Verlander (5-3, 2.55 ERA)

Hughes has been up to his typical Phil Hughes tricks this season, which is to say that he makes Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello look like models of consistency. The only thing he has been consistent in doing this season is leaving his dirty work for the Yankees bullpen. His start against the Kansas City Royals on May 6th was his first outing of 6 inning or more of the entire season. He's averaging just 5 2/3 innings per start, which is a major step back for a guy that won 18 games in 2010.

Hughes pitched well out of the bullpen against the Tigers in the postseason last year, but has been fairly mediocre against Detroit throughout his career. He has a 4-3 record and a 4.54 ERA against the Tigers, but was lit up in his only start against them in 2011. For his career, Hughes has a 2.37 ERA at Comerica Park.

Justin Verlander's unequivocal worst start of the season was still a 6 inning, 7 strikeout, 1 walk performance. Not to mention, this was against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. It is absolutely silly how good he is. My previews for his starts have turned from objective analysis to Google Maps expeditions and total fanboyism. Verlander gave up 5 runs (4 earned) against the Yankees earlier this season. If I were a betting man, I would wager a valuable body part in a sensitive area that this does not happen again today.

Speaking of fanboyism...

Last night was just the latest reminder of how much fun it is watching Miguel Cabrera hit. Holy wow, what a night.

Outlook

Despite the [insert profanity here] that was Friday night's game, the Tigers have a chance to win this series and split the season series against the Yankees. Not only that, it would give the Tigers a winning record in their last 10 games for the first time since sometime in the middle of the Texas Buzzsaw Massacre at Comerica Park in mid-April. Finally, it gives the Tigers some nice momentum heading toward a payback series against the Cleveland Indians starting on Tuesday.

Prediction

Hughes will have to be near perfect to beat Verlander today. He won't be.

In honor of Quintin Berry's quote about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches revealed during last night's broadcast...