Due to my ineptitude to set Google reminders for tasks this week, I dropped the ball on writing the preview for Friday’s game between the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees earlier in the day, so this is going to be rather abbreviated...
So you’ve got the Yankees coming to Detroit for a three-game series at Comerica Park. Basically, the Yankees are pretty freaking good. They aren’t in first place in the American League East, but they’re only two games back. On the other hand, the Tigers are not very good. They are, in fact, in last place in the AL Central. They were looking relatively better prior to facing Cleveland earlier this week, but then their offense went back into full tank mode.
Detroit Tigers (19-31) vs. New York Yankees (29-21)
Time/Place: 7:10 p.m., Comerica Park
SB Nation Site: Pinstripe Alley
Media: Bally Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network
Pitching Matchup: RHP Casey Mize (3-3, 3.42 ERA) vs. RHP Gerrit Cole (6-2, 1.81 ERA)
Game 51 Pitching Matchup
With every passing start, Casey Mize is looking more and more like the pitcher the Tigers expected to get when they made him the top overall pick in the draft three years ago. Instead of nibbling, he’s been pounding the zone with his fastball recently and getting excellent results. You can see his confidence growing with every pitch, and he’s going to need a lot of it facing an offense that features Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and DJ LeMahieu at the top.
As much of a test as the offense of the Yankees will be for Mize, he’s going to have to match pitches with one of the game’s best in Gerrit Cole if the Tigers are to walk away with a victory. Put plainly and simply, Cole is a capital-A ace. A strikeout pitcher facing a lineup that racks up a ton of strikeouts means we’re probably going to see — you guessed it — a lot of strikeouts tonight. How will he strike you out? Maybe a 100 mph fastball that you don’t get a glimpse at until it’s in the catcher's mitt? How about a hard slider that spins into oblivion after you already guessed fastball? Or maybe a changeup that averages 89 mph, but because you’ve seen triple digits in the same at-bat, has you so far out in front of it that you could wind back up and swing again? Could be a very long night for the Tigers bats.
Key Matchup: Me vs. publishing this on time
And that is a matchup that I have already lost. Let’s hope that the Tigers can pick me up with an unlikely win.