New York Yankees (68-61) at Detroit Tigers (70-59)
Time/Place: 7:08 p.m., Comerica Park
SB Nation blog: Pinstripe Alley
Pitching Matchup: RHP Brandon McCarthy (8-12, 4.01 ERA) vs. RHP Rick Porcello (14-8, 3.10 ERA)
Brandon McCarthy has been really good since joining the Yankees last month. The Tigers found this out first-hand when he held them to an unearned run in 5 2/3 innings in a 2-1 Yankees victory on August 4th. He wasn't lights out though, as the Tigers had opportunities to score. They left the bases loaded in the second inning, then squandered another opportunity with two runners on base after McCarthy was lifted from the game in the sixth.
This is better than other teams have done against McCarthy lately. He has given up two runs or fewer in seven of his eight outings with the Yankees, including a four hit shutout of the Houston Astros in his last start. More impressive still might be his 7.29 strikeout-to-walk ratio, a figure that would rank fifth among qualified MLB starters if McCarthy were able to maintain it for an entire season. That said, his 5.33 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 2014 ranks 10th. He has been able to limit the home run ball as well despite a drop in groundball rate after being traded.
Rick Porcello dominated the Yankees in their meeting earlier this month, allowing a run on nine hits in seven innings. That run was the difference against a non-existent Tigers offense, however, and Porcello took the loss. It was the first of three consecutive losses by Porcello -- one being the 19 inning game in Toronto -- until he snapped that streak in his last start with his third shutout of the season. Even with a pair of rough outings thrown into the mix, Porcello has been one of the best pitchers in baseball over the past two months. He has a 2.18 ERA and 3.92 strikeout-to-walk ratio since mid-June.
Hitter to fear: Jacoby Ellsbury (.615/.643/1.154 in 14 plate appearances)
Hitter to fail: Derek Jeter (.111/.111/.167 in 18 plate appearances)
Porcello's great outing against the Yankees a few weeks ago was somewhat of a surprise. His career splits against the Bronx Bombers are not very good, and even the current Yankees roster has had success against him in the past. Jacoby Ellsbury owns Porcello, with eight hits (including two home runs) in 13 at-bats. Carlos Beltran and Brendan Ryan are both 4 for 8. Ichiro Suzuki has the most plate appearances against Porcello of any current Yankee and is hitting .393. Derek Jeter and Martin Prado are the only players with a sub-.300 on-base percentage in more than three plate appearances.
The Yankees helped out the Tigers last night, flying into Kansas City for a makeup game and leaving with an 8-1 victory. The win was New York's fifth in a row and seventh in their last nine. McCarthy has been the team's best starter during this run, a necessity given the team's lack of offense in the second half. They are scoring under four runs per game since the All-Star break, one of the lowest rates in baseball. It will be interesting to see if the Tigers can get to McCarthy this time around, though it may only take a run or two to come away with a victory.
The Tigers offense strikes in the middle innings and win their third game in a row.
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