New York Yankees: Detroit Tigers

Rivera unfazed by blown-save streak

August, 11, 2013
8/11/13
6:24
PM ET
RiveraAP Photo/Kathy WillensMariano Rivera's past three outings have been a disaster.
NEW YORK -- In the final season of his baseball career, Mariano Rivera has done something for the first time.

Rivera, boasting the most saves in major league history -- 643 and counting -- now has three consecutive blown saves.

Entering in the ninth inning with the Yankees leading the Detroit Tigers 4-2 on Sunday, Rivera surrendered solo home runs to Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez. The Yankees won 5-4, thanks to a Brett Gardner walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth.

Rivera said both pitches were mistakes. "I left the ball up," he said. "Martinez, the ball was just laying flat up. And also with Miguel. Again, you're facing professional hitters. If you don't put the ball where you need to, you're gonna get hit."

The 43-year-old has looked as good as ever for most of this season. He delivered in 35 of his first 37 opportunities, entered August with a 1.60 ERA and currently ranks third in the majors with 35 saves.

But this past Wednesday in Chicago, with the Yankees leading 4-3 heading into the ninth, Rivera allowed the White Sox to tie the game via a Gordon Beckham double and an Adam Dunn single.

On Friday night in the Bronx, with the Yankees leading 4-2 and a runner aboard, Cabrera took Rivera deep to knot things up. And Cabrera did it again on Sunday, becoming the first player ever to homer in consecutive at-bats against Rivera (according to the Elias Sports Bureau).

"It's not surprising," Rivera said when asked about the home runs. "You're talking about professional hitters. But, at the same time, I didn't put the ball where I wanted to. That's the difference. So you have to continue working."

Rivera said he was not aware he'd never blown three saves in a row before.

"There's always a first time," he said. "I don't pay attention to that stuff. Just go out there and do my job. The last three opportunities, I haven't done it. You have to continue battling."

The Yankees lost that game in Chicago on Wednesday but bounced back to win both Friday and Sunday. "That's the most important thing," Rivera said.

When asked if he is worried about this bad stretch, Rivera laughed.

"No, I don't worry about it," he said. "We always have this kind of conversation. Early, late, middle of the season. It happens."

But this has never happened before. And with just 46 regular-season games remaining in Rivera's Hall of Fame career, don't expect to see it happen again.

Rapid Reaction: Yankees 5, Tigers 4

August, 11, 2013
8/11/13
4:42
PM ET


NEW YORK -- Wow.

Alex Rodriguez was the story at the start of the day, with his first home run of the season. But Mariano Rivera and Brett Gardner were the story by the end.

Rivera blew a save for the third outing in a row, for the first time in his storied career. But then Gardner hit a walk-off home run, giving the New York Yankees a wild 5-4 victory over the Detroit Tigers in the Bronx.

What it means: The Yanks took two of three this weekend against the team with the best record in the American League. It's also their first series victory since the first week of July. They avoid falling to .500, upping their record to 59-57. But they remain in fourth place in the American League East, 10½ games behind the first-place Red Sox, and are 6½ games out in the wild-card race.

The Tigers drop to 69-47, but remain in first place in the American League Central, 7½ games ahead of Cleveland.

Hard to believe: Rivera came on in the ninth with the Yankees leading 4-2. Miguel Cabrera led off for Detroit and promptly smacked a ball into the right-field seats, making it 4-3. Cabrera also homered off Rivera on Friday, a two-run shot that tied that score at 4.

Prince Fielder popped out to third base, but then Victor Martinez launched a monster shot into the second deck in right, tying the game.

The hero: With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Gardner hit a 94 mph fastball from Jose Veras into the right-field stands to win the ballgame -- his eighth home run of the season, and the first walk-off homer of his major league career.

The lightning rod: In his first at-bat, leading off the bottom of the second inning, Rodriguez swung at a 1-0 92 mph fastball from Tigers starter Justin Verlander and hit a towering fly ball that landed in the left-field seats, tying the score at 1. It was career home run No. 648. It also was career RBI No. 1,951, pushing Rodriguez past Stan Musial into fifth place on the all-time list.

A-Rod heard a mixture of cheers and boos when he was introduced before the game and before his first at-bat. After the homer, however, it was almost all cheers -- except for when he booted a slow grounder off the bat of Martinez in the top of the third, his first error of the season.

In the bottom of the third, Rodriguez hit a line-drive single down the right-field line, driving home Robinson Cano to give the Yankees a 3-1 lead. In the fifth, with Cano on first base and two outs, Rodriguez popped out to first. In the seventh, with no one on and two outs, Rodriguez grounded out to third. He finished the day 2-for-4 with two RBIs and one run scored.

Another milestone: Alfonso Soriano collected his 2,000th career hit, and did so by driving a ball into the left-field seats to lead off the bottom of the fourth, giving the Yankees a 4-1 lead. It was his 20th homer of the season, and third since joining the Yanks on July 26.

Shaky Andy: Andy Pettitte gave up a run in the first inning for the eighth consecutive start, but it could have been much worse. The Tigers had the bases loaded with one out, but Pettitte got Matt Tuiasosopo to ground to third base, and Rodriguez turned the 5-5-3 double play to keep the score at 1-0.

Pettitte struggled just to get into the fifth inning, with runners on base in each frame. Joe Girardi finally gave him the hook with the bases loaded and one out in the top of the fifth, with Pettitte already having thrown 101 pitches. Shawn Kelley came to the rescue, getting a strikeout and fly out to end the frame and keep the score 4-1.

Pettitte gave up one run on eight hits, with three walks and three strikeouts. He remains 7-9 on the season and hasn't won a game since July 11.

What's next: A four-game series between the Yankees and Angels, beginning Monday at 7:05 p.m. Hiroki Kuroda (10-7, 2-45) will start for New York, opposed by fellow righty Garrett Richards (3-4, 4.20).

Notes: Joba mauled by Tigers, too

August, 10, 2013
8/10/13
6:27
PM ET
Joba Chamberlain AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)Your Saturday was probably better than Joba Chamberlain's Saturday.
Joba Chamberlain's forgettable 2013 season took a turn for the worse on Saturday.

Chamberlain allowed three hits and one run -- on a long home run -- in 1⅔ innings in the Yankees' 9-3 loss to Detroit.

"Just one bad pitch" is how Chamberlain summed up what could be one of his final outings in the Bronx.

Chamberlain will be a free agent this winter, and, barring a monumental turnaround in the final 47 games of the season, there's virtually no chance the Yankees will re-sign him.

It probably seems like a lifetime ago, but Chamberlain was the toast of the town when he saved the Yankees' season coming out of the bullpen in 2007.

Now, the right-hander's been reduced to mop-up duty.

He made seven appearances in July after a disastrous June in which he allowed nine runs in 6⅔ innings over seven outings.

Chamberlain was asked on Saturday if his lack of consistent appearances affects his pitching.

"You've just got to continue to do your work on the side, and when you get the opportunity, you've got to pitch well," Chamberlain said.

That didn't happen on Saturday. You wonder how many more opportunities Chamberlain will get.

Putrid pen: Chamberlain wasn't the only member of the Yankees' bullpen who struggled. The pen allowed 10 hits and five earned runs in 4⅔ innings, its most runs allowed since a June 1 game against the Red Sox. Yankees pitchers allowed 17 hits, one shy of their season high.

Lyle and … : Lyle Overbay drove in all of the Yankees' runs Saturday, hitting a two-run homer in the fifth inning and adding an RBI single in the ninth.

Overbay, who went 2-for-3, was the only Yankee to reach base multiple times Saturday, as Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez dominated.

"Just can't get anything going. It seems like we're kind of trying to do too much with runners in scoring position," Overbay said. "You got to give credit to Sanchez. He's got good stuff. He's one of the most underrated pitchers I've ever faced. You have to give him credit, but at the same token, we kind of had him in a spot where we could get some chances to get some runs, and we haven't been able to do it."

Wasn't he a Yankee? The Yankees have struggled to retire Detroit center fielder Austin Jackson in this series, as he went 2-for-4 Saturday and is 6-for-10 with five runs scored through the first two games.

The Yankees traded Jackson in the deal that netted them Curtis Granderson prior to the 2010 season.

"He's a guy that swings the bat pretty well," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Right now, he's swinging it really well, and we're not making good pitches on him. That's probably why he's swinging so well."

First Pitch: Lightning Rod

August, 9, 2013
8/09/13
6:00
AM ET


Tonight will be Alex Rodriguez's first game at Yankee Stadium since last Oct. 14, when he was virtually booed out of his own ballpark while in the midst of a postseason performance that can only be described as horrendous.

And since then, things have only gotten worse -- the second hip surgery, his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal, the public and ugly feud with the Yankees' front office and, this week, the unprecedented 211-game suspension and his subsequent appeal.

Perhaps worst of all, if not a very fair way to judge, is that his return to the lineup has done nothing to spark his moribund team; with A-Rod back, the Yankees are 0-3, all three losses coming at the hands of the woeful Chicago White Sox, who had lost their previous 10 games.

A-Rod has three singles in 11 at-bats since coming back, but no homers or RBI, and it certainly seemed as if a younger and more mobile third baseman might have made a play on Adam Dunn's hot grounder to third that resulted in a blown save for Mariano Rivera, a tie game and ultimately, a backbreaking 12-inning loss.

Tonight, he and the Yankees are home, bloodied from a 2-6 road trip and both needing a miracle -- the Yankees to salvage a season, A-Rod to salvage a career -- as they open a three-game series against the formidable Detroit Tigers.

It almost seems silly to ask this question, but what type of reception can Alex Rodriguez expect from the Yankee Stadium crowd tonight?

Will the fans pick up where they left off last October and treat A-Rod like the enemy in his own home? Or will they perform that turnaround unique to sports fans of embracing a player simply because he is despised everywhere else?

SportsNation

Will you boo or cheer A-Rod on Friday night?

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    43%
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    26%
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    31%

Discuss (Total votes: 6,744)

For their part, neither A-Rod nor his manager are sure.

"I'm looking forward to getting back home, obviously," Rodriguez said after Wednesday's 6-5 loss. "I've been waiting a long time for this day, just to get the privilege to come home on a Friday night against a tough opponent. I'm just really excited."

But asked to predict what kind of reception he expected to get, A-Rod said, "I don't know."

Joe Girardi, too, seemed puzzled by how the fans will welcome A-Rod back to the Bronx.

"I'm curious what it's going to be like Friday night," Girardi said. "I'm not sure. I don't really know what the appropriate response is. I don't think it is my right to tell people how to respond to certain situations. People are going to react the way they are going to react."

QUESTION: What is the appropriate way to react to Alex Rodriguez when he returns to the Bronx tonight? Will you boo him, cheer him or ignore him, and why? Let us know in the comments section or via my Twitter feed, @ESPNNYYankees.

UP NOW: My column on why the Yankees blog.

ON DECK: The Tigers are on the loose, beginning tonight. Three games over the weekend between one of the hottest teams in baseball and one of the coldest. Pitching matchups: Ivan Nova (5-4, 3.08) vs. RHP Rick Porcello (8-6, 4.28) Friday night at 7:05 p.m.; Phil Hughes (4-10, 4.87) vs. RHP Anibal Sanchez (9-7, 2.58) Saturday at 1:05 p.m.; and Andy Pettitte (7-9, 4.71) vs. RHP Justin Verlander (12-8, 3.74) in Sunday's finale, also at 1:05 p.m.

I'll be in the Yankees' clubhouse when it opens at 3:20 p.m. Friday, and I'll have the lineups and all the pregame news soon afterward, so check in this afternoon. And as always, thanks for making ESPNNewYork.com New York's No. 1 sports website.

W2W4: ALCS Game 3

October, 16, 2012
10/16/12
12:00
PM ET


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.

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.

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.

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.

W2W4: ALCS Game 2

October, 14, 2012
10/14/12
12:45
PM ET
Hiroki Kuroda Stats To Watch
Kuroda will be making his first career start on three days' rest. He had no-decisions in both starts against the Tigers this season, allowing five runs and 17 hits in 13 1/3 innings.

The Tigers had some good fortune against Kuroda’s splitter. They had five hits in those two starts, three of them being infield hits. They also had five hits against Kuroda’s slider, two of those being infield hits.

Kuroda allowed 10 hits on the 21 ground balls he induced. He allowed a .189 batting average on ground balls against other teams this season.

Miguel Cabrera is 4-for-9 against Kuroda with two home runs, one of which came on June 2 of this season in Detroit. That was a 466-foot shot that came on a hanging slider over the middle of the plate. The other came in 2010, on a pitch far enough inside that it would have hit some batters.

Keep an eye on Kuroda’s splitter in this game. It has been a good pitch for him in the last three starts. In the last three starts, he’s thrown 50 of them, netting 12 outs and yielding just one hit.

Anibal Sanchez Stats To Watch
The Yankees pummeled Sanchez for seven runs in three innings in a win over the Tigers on August 8.

The biggest problem that Sanchez had in that game is that he didn’t fool anyone. Of the 27 pitches he threw out of the strike zone, the Yankees only swung at one of them. Sanchez would normally expect to get seven or eight chases against that many pitches, based on his season totals.

Sanchez’s slider, normally a modestly effective pitch, was pounded for four hits, including a homer by Curtis Granderson in those first three innings.

When Sanchez is going well, he’s very effective against left-handed hitters, which is trouble for some of the slumping Yankees. He’s held lefties to a .645 OPS, about 100 points below how the average right-handed pitcher fared in 2012.

Granderson should be ready for plenty more offspeed offerings. Sanchez throws his offspeed stuff to lefties more than half the time. As the chart on the right shows, his curveball has been his most effective pitch recently.

Nix or Nunez?
Should Jayson Nix start at shortstop, he would join the parade of cold bats in the Yankees lineup. Nix is 1-for-his-last-15 with six strikeouts against right-handed pitching dating back to September 5. Nunez is not much better. He’s 4-for-33 against (big-league) righties dating back to April 23.

Defensively, Nunez had four errors and two defensive misplays in 116 regular-season innings at short. Nix had one error and two defensive misplays in 134 innings.

Neither Nix or Nunez has ever faced Sanchez. Nix has had a rough time against the next two Tigers starters in this series. He’s 1-for-20 with 12 strikeouts combined against Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer. Nunez is 1-for-3 against Verlander and has never faced Scherzer.

Whither Robinson Cano?
Cano is 0-for-his-last-22 and 2-for-28 this postseason.

Cano became the first player to have a pair of 0-for-6s in the same postseason. The only other player to have a pair for his career is Craig Biggio.

The one thing Cano may have going for him is that he’s only struck out four times in the playoffs.

The chart on the right shows how Cano’s numbers when hitting the ball run counter to his regular-season success.

The Tigers continued the strategy of pitching Cano on the outer-half and off the outside corner that worked so well for the Orioles. All six outs in Game 1 came on pitches to that area (The Tigers righties employed a similar strategy to Mark Teixeira, with 20 of the 21 pitches to him being to the outer-third of further off the plate).

The Tigers made sure Cano could not turn on an inside pitch. Of the six they threw him on/off the inside corner (in other words, on the inner-third or closer), only one was in the strike zone.

Pettitte strong again, but gets no support

October, 13, 2012
10/13/12
10:40
PM ET
Larry Rothschild Elsa/Getty ImagesAndy Pettitte was solid again Saturday, but exited the game with the Yankees in a 2-0 hole

For the second straight outing, Andy Pettitte gave the Yankees a great performance.

His offense just didn't back him.

Pettitte tossed 6 2/3 innings of two-run ball Saturday but left the game with the Yankees down 2-0 as they left the bases loaded three times.

The veteran held Detroit scoreless for the first five but a triple by Austin Jackson ignited Detroit in the sixth. After the call was made to intentionally walk Miguel Cabrera with one out, Prince Fielder and Delmon Young responded with back-to-back singles to give Detroit the lead. He left the game in the seventh with two outs after walking Omar Infante.

Unless the Yankees rally, Pettitte will be 0-2 in the postseason despite not yielding more than three runs in either start. He gave up seven hits and struck out five.

Plenty of seats still available for Game 2

October, 13, 2012
10/13/12
8:19
PM ET
Want attend Game 2 of the ALCS?

Well, there are plenty of good seats available.

As of 8 p.m. Saturday, there are currently 8,969 tickets for Sunday’s Yankees-Tigers tilt available for purchase on StubHub, the cheapest being $36.

Crazy. Or is it?

Rapid Reaction: Tigers 4, Yankees 3

June, 2, 2012
6/02/12
11:38
PM ET


DETROIT -- A quick take on the Yankees' loss to the Tigers on Saturday night:

What does it mean: The Yanks' 4-3 loss at Comerica Park means they will have to beat Justin Verlander, or the Tigers' bullpen, to win the series here in Detroit.

The Yankees had a real chance to steal this one -- a timely hit probably would have won this game. They left a staggering 12 men on base.

Even after the Yanks tied the game in the top of the ninth with a bases-loaded walk, David Phelps and Boone Logan couldn't hold the Tigers down in the bottom of the ninth.

With one out, Phelps gave up back-to-back singles. Enter Logan, who intentionally walked Ramon Santiago to load the bases and bring up catcher Omir Santos. He hit a sacrifice fly to right to plate the game-winner.

The Yankees are now 5-3 on this road trip, with the final game coming on Sunday.

Wild thing: The Yankees were helped out big-time by Tigers closer Jose Valverde, who was wild from the start of the ninth inning. With a 3-2 lead, Valverde hit Russell Martin to lead off the inning.

The Yankees wound up tying the game without a hit. Valverde hit two batters and walked two, including Mark Teixeira on a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded.

Another good start: Hiroki Kuroda, coming off a 2-0 victory in Oakland, pitched well again. In seven innings of work, the veteran right-hander allowed two runs (both earned) on seven hits. He walked one and struck out four. He threw just 86 pitches.

Leaving them loaded: The Yankees continued to struggle with the bases loaded. In the ninth inning, with one out and the bases juiced, Robinson Cano hit an infield popup. Coming into the game, the Yanks ranked 26th in the majors with a .163 batting average (9-for-55) in this situation.

Stormy weather: There was a 39-minute rain delay in the bottom of the first inning.

What's coming: A trip to the clubhouse, to find out about Joe Girardi's 14th ejection as Yankees manager, among other things.

On Sunday it's Phil Hughes (4-5, 5.64) versus Verlander (5-3, 2.55) at 1:05 p.m.

Yankees at Tigers -- Saturday lineups

June, 2, 2012
6/02/12
6:51
PM ET
DETROIT -- Here are your lineups for Saturday night's game between the Yankees and Tigers, first pitch scheduled for 7:15 p.m. ET.

YANKEES

Derek Jeter, SS
Curtis Granderson, CF
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Raul Ibanez, LF
Nick Swisher, RF
Eric Chavez, DH
Russell Martin, C

Hiroki Kuroda, RHP

TIGERS

Quintin Berry, CF
Danny Worth, 2B
Miguel Cabrera, 3B
Prince Fielder, 1B
Delmon Young, DH
Brennan Boesch, RF
Jhonny Peralta, SS
Don Kelly, 3B
Omir Santos, C

Rick Porcello, RHP

W2W4: Yankees at Tigers (June 1)

June, 1, 2012
6/01/12
2:53
PM ET
CC Sabathia Stats To Watch
Sabathia’s slider has not been as dominant in his last two starts as it usually is. That may explain his seven walks in his last 14 innings.

Hitters typically swing at about half the sliders Sabathia throws, but they’ve gone after only 16 of the 54 he’s thrown in his last two starts.

Sabathia will see one of the hitters who hits him best in Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera is 10-for-20 against him in the regular season, 10-for-22 overall. He had an RBI double against Sabathia in their previous meeting on April 29, but was retired on three other occasions.

For those wondering if Sabathia’s fastball velocity is a little low for this time of year, it is down slightly from last season. He averaged 92.8 mph on his fastball through the end of May in 2011. It is at 92.1 through two months in 2012.

June 2011 is when Sabathia’s velocity kicked up. He averaged 94 mph with his fastball that month.

Casey Crosby Stats To Watch
As another pitcher makes his major league debut against the Yankees, we again recalculate how the Yankees fare against pitchers in the first game of their careers.

The issues the Yankees have had in the past seem to be no more. The last three starting pitchers to debut against the Yankees have allowed 15 runs in 14 innings.

The last Tigers starter to debut against the Yankees was Beiker Graterol, who allowed seven runs in four innings in a loss on April 9, 1999, then never pitched again in the majors.

Comerica Effect
Though Comerica Park’s outfield is a little spacious, it didn’t impact the Yankees ability to hit home runs last year. They hit seven in the three regular-season games there.

Comerica actually ranks high on ESPN’s Park Factor list, thus far ranking as the eighth-friendliest homer-hitting park in the majors this season.

Welcome Back Curtis
Yankees right fielder Curtis Granderson returns to Comerica Park again swinging a good bat against lefties. He’s hitting .279 with five home runs in 61 at-bats against southpaws this season.

One of the quirks of what Granderson has done against lefties may play into how the Tigers defend him. Granderson has seen more and more infield shifts this season, and for good reason. Of the 18 grounders and line drives he’s hit versus lefties, only one has been to the third base side of second base.

Tigers Not So Grrrreat on Grounders
One of the Tigers' susceptibilities is their infield defense. They’ve allowed hitters to reach via hit or error on 28 percent of the ground balls hit against them.

That’s 3 percentage points above the major league average, which equates to about 15-20 extra baserunners over the course of a season.

The Tigers are the only American League team to have a negative rating at each of the four infield positions in the advanced metric "defensive runs saved," which measures the ability to turn batted balls into outs, convert double plays, and defend bunts.

Keep an Eye on the New Guy
With center fielder Austin Jackson out, the Tigers have replaced him with a prospect, Quintin Berry, who is off to a fast start, with a .333 batting average and five steals in 39 at-bats. He already has three infield hits.

Berry is very vulnerable to the strikeout, though, having already whiffed 15 times, nine against left-handed pitching.

W2W4: Tigers at Yankees (April 28)

April, 28, 2012
4/28/12
10:30
AM ET
Derek Jeter is crushing left-handed pitching in 2012

Drew Smyly Matchups to Watch
A couple of days after facing Rangers rookie Yu Darvish for the first time, the Yankees will get a look at another rookie in Smyly, who has allowed two runs in 16 innings. The difference is that Darvish has the experience and free reign to go deep into games. Smyly's three starts have gone four, six, and six innings.

Nonetheless, Smyly did impress, striking out seven Rangers in six innings in his last start, one in which he allowed only one run.

Smyly may have vulnerability to a good left-handed power hitter, who can hit a fastball, which would make Curtis Granderson or Robinson Cano candidates for potential success. Left-handed hitters are 7-for-16 against Smyly. Josh Hamilton and Carlos Pena have both homered against him. Both were on 91 mile-per-hour fastballs.

Lastly, from the land of obscurity, we have this stat from a search on Baseball-Reference.com: The last four times a Tigers pitcher has started a game at Yankee Stadium within the first four games of his major league career, the Tigers have lost. Not only have they lost-- they've lost by the combined score of 34-11.

Freddy Garcia Matchups to Watch
Garcia is 18-8 career against the Tigers, though much of that success is contained from 2004 to 2006 when he went 10-2 against them and won a World Series with the White Sox.

He made a regular-season start and a postseason start against them in 2011, allowing four runs in each, pitching a combined 12 1/3 innings

Miguel Cabrera is 11-for-26 with four home runs in his career against Garcia, merging his regular season and postseason performance. That includes a line-drive home run to right field in last year's ALDS.

Garcia's issue is that he doesn't seem to have an effective way to get Cabrera out consistently. Cabrera has four hits in the last three seasons against Garcia on pitches that were below the knees. He's also been effective on getting hits against pitches over the outer-third of the plate.

Garcia almost never comes inside to Cabrera, doing so only 11 times in 97 pitches over the last three seasons. That might have something to do with Cabrera's 37 regular-season home runs against inner-third pitches in 2010 and 2011, seven more than the person with the next-most in the majors-- Adrian Beltre.

Jeter Watch
Derek Jeter had his 15-game hitting streak snapped and saw his batting average dip to .400 after going 0-for-4 in Friday's win.

Jeter has feasted on left-handed pitching this season, going 17-for-28 against southpaws (including 4-for-4 against Rangers starter Derek Holland earlier this week).

Jeter is in a zone against lefties that rivals anything you could possibly imagine.

Based on our Pitch F/X pitch-location data, Jeter is 16-for-18 with a sacrifice fly when a turn against a lefty ends with a pitch in the strike zone. Two of the three outs he made came in the opening series of the season against the Rays.

The image atop the article shows Jeter's heat map against left-handed pitching this season.

A cap-tip to my colleague Will Cohen, who reminds me that Jeter is also one walk from 1,000 and two doubles from becoming the second Yankees player with 500 (Lou Gehrig has 534).

Jones Not Keeping Up
Even past his prime, Andruw Jones has always been a good hitter against pitches over the middle-third of the plate (width-wise-- meaning pitches that are not inside or outside). Until this season.

Jones is 0-for-7 with a sacrifice fly in at-bats ending in pitches thrown to those areas, so you could argue he's due to drive one to a good spot. Four of the outs have come vs lefties.

Over the last two seasons, Jones is 23-for-57 in such at-bats against left-handed pitching with six home runs.

Girardi reveals ALDS rotation

September, 29, 2011
9/29/11
12:27
AM ET
Joe Girardi has revealed his starting rotation for the ALDS.

CC Sabathia will throw Games 1 and 4 regardless of circumstances for the Yankees, followed by Ivan Nova in Games 2 and 5.

Freddy Garcia will pitch Game 3 while A.J. Burnett is pushed to the bullpen against the Detroit Tigers.

Yankees clinch AL home-field advantage

September, 24, 2011
9/24/11
11:04
PM ET
The Yankees clinched the American League's home-field advantage through the ALCS when Detroit lost 6-5 to Baltimore.

Here's how it breaks down:

• The Yankees, who routed Boston on Saturday, are 96-61.

• The Tigers are 91-67 with only four games left. The best they can do is finish with 95 wins, one shy of the Yankees' current total.

• The Rangers, who beat Seattle on Saturday, are 92-66 with four games left. They could match the Yankees' win total if they win out and New York loses its five remaining games. But New York would still clinch by virtue of winning its season series with Texas, 7-2.

New York could conceivably catch Philadelphia (98-60, currently mired in an eight-game losing streak) for the best record in the majors … but it wouldn't matter. The National League won the All-Star Game, securing home-field advantage in the World Series for the NL champion.

No rain means yes to Opening Day

March, 31, 2011
3/31/11
12:28
PM ET
Though it's cold and windy in the Bronx, the grounds crew is preparing the infield and the field appears to be ready for today's season opener between the Yankees and the Tigers. Fans have trickled into the Stadium and are starting to take their seats.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Masahiro Tanaka
WINS ERA SO IP
12 2.51 135 129
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Ellsbury .293
HRM. Teixeira 17
RBIM. Teixeira 48
RB. Gardner 59
OPSJ. Ellsbury .778
ERAM. Tanaka 2.51
SOM. Tanaka 135