Detroit Tigers (68-46) at New York Yankees (58-56)
Time/Place: 1:05 p.m., Yankee Stadium
SB Nation blog: Pinstriped Bible
Pitching Matchup: RHP Anibal Sanchez (9-7, 2.58 ERA) vs. RHP Phil Hughes (4-10, 4.87 ERA)
A lot of Hughes' success in 2012 was built upon an 11-4 home record with a 3.74 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. The homer-prone right-hander allowed 22 dingers at Yankee Stadium last year, but was able to limit baserunners around those homers to minimize the damage. This season, the homers are still there. Unfortunately, so are the baserunners. Hughes is 1-7 at home this season with a 6.02 ERA and 1.46 WHIP.
Hughes seemed to be on the right track in July, putting up a 3.86 ERA and 20 strikeouts to eight walks in 28 innings. He stumbled at the start of August, however, allowing five runs on six hits in just 2 2/3 innings against the San Diego Padres. It was the eighth time in 2013 that Hughes has failed to make it through five innings. By comparison, Rick Porcello has only done this twice -- and yes, both were against the Los Angeles Angels.
On the other hand, Sanchez hasn't let his July success slip away just yet in August. Since July 1st, he is 3-2 with a 2.19 ERA. Opposing batters are hitting just .212/.294/.285 during this stretch. He wasn't striking out as many hitters compared to his pre-disabled list rate, but broke out with an 11-strikeout performance in his last start against the Cleveland Indians.
Sanchez has started two games at Yankee Stadium in his career, one with the Marlins and one with the Tigers in last season's American League Championship Series. He still has yet to allow a run.
Hughes has been at his worst in the first few innings of games, allowing a .318/.368/.529 slash line in innings 1-3. Eleven of his 20 homers allowed this season have come in those three innings as well. The Tigers, on the other hand, tend to get stronger as they see a starter for the second and third time through the order. It will be interesting to see how those two factors match up today. Sanchez, on the other hand, needs to improve his fastball command. He was somehow able to rack up 11 strikeouts against the Indians despite only throwing half of his four-seam fastballs for strikes.
The Tigers offense gets to Hughes and a new win streak begins.