W2W4: ALCS Game 3

For a closer look at some of Joe Girardi's lineup decisions heading into Game 3, check out our article from Monday.

Phil Hughes Matchups To Watch

Hughes has a couple of trouble spots to deal with in the Tigers' lineup.

Keys to Victory
Hughes CG vs Tigers (June 3)

Miguel Cabrera is 9-for-22 with four home runs against Hughes. His past two at-bats were a homer and a double on Aug. 7.

Cabrera’s four home runs match his most against any pitcher and his 1.045 slugging percentage against Hughes is his second-best against any pitcher he has at least 20 at-bats against.

Hughes has gotten Cabrera out a few times when he’s jammed Cabrera way inside.

That’s a risky move though. Cabrera has 23 home runs this season against pitches over the inner-third of the plate or closer to him, including 10 pitches that were out of the strike zone.

Jhonny Peralta is 10-for-20 against Hughes with four doubles, including 3-for-5 this season. He’s had at least one hit in each of the seven times Hughes started against his team.

Peralta’s .500 batting average is tied for his best against any pitcher and tied for the best of any of the 38 hitters with at least 15 at-bats against Hughes.

Hughes has had trouble throwing his curve for strikes against Peralta, throwing just seven of 16 for strikes in their past 15 plate appearances.

Peralta has not missed on any of his past 18 swings against a Hughes fastball or cutter, dating back to 2009.

Hughes does have a good history against Austin Jackson, who is 1-for-11 against him. Hughes has been able to get him out with the fastball. Eight of his 10 outs have been with that pitch, mostly thrown to the top of the strike zone and above.

What Yankees hitters can expect from Justin Verlander

The Yankees figure to have a lefty-loaded lineup against Verlander and those hitters can expect much of what they’ve seen throughout this postseason.

Quirk of the Day

Robinson Cano, hitless in his past 26 at-bats, can expect a lot of pitches on the corners. Of the 40 pitches he saw from Verlander this season, 37 were on either the inner-third or outer-third of the strike zone, or off the plate to either side.

Mark Teixeira saw 34 pitches, 25 of which were on the outer-third, or off the outsider corner.

In Verlander’s start against the Yankees on Aug. 6, he struck out 14, 13 of whom were left-handed hitters. Verlander got them by pitching them away, away, away. Of his 112 pitches to lefties, 81 were on or just off the outside corner, including 34 of 44 with two strikes.

Who can stand the heat?

The Yankees can also expect to see a lot of fastballs in the upper 90s from Verlander.

Most HR vs 95+ MPH Pitches
Yankees in 2012

Teixeira has five home runs against pitches of 95 mph or faster, tied for the most in the American League. However, he has a history of struggling against Verlander.

We mentioned yesterday that Joe Girardi has a decision to make on Eric Chavez, who was 6-for-10 against Verlander this season.

However, Chavez has a major weakness. He’s 1-for-30 this season when an at-bat ends with a pitch that is a 95-plus fastball.

Alex Rodriguez had good numbers against 95-plus fastballs until the end of the season (coinciding with his return from injury). He had eight hits against the first 119 95-plus fastballs he saw in 2012. But he’s hitless on the 49 he’s seen since Sept. 11.

Rodriguez missed on 16 of his first 64 swings at those pitches this season, but has whiffed on 12 of his last 25.