The Detroit Tigers look to take a commanding 3-0 ALDS lead over the New York Yankees, as the two teams face off in Game Three.
The Tigers couldn’t have asked to be in a in a better position, returning home. They’ll send their ace to the mound against a Yankees lineup that has been anemic in the playoffs. New York has failed to score in 20 of 21 innings in this series.
Verlander is considered by many to be the best pitcher in baseball. After becoming the first pitcher in 19 years to win the MVP in 2011, the righty had another outstanding season. He finished second in the American League with a 2.64 ERA and led all pitchers with 239 strikeouts.
In two 2012 postseason starts, Verlander has been utterly dominant. He’s thrown 16 innings of one-run ball, including a complete game shutout in Game Five of the ALCS.
Despite Verlander’s numbers, the Yankees might not be so disappointed to see the former Cy Young winner. A few of New York’s hitters who have struggled in the postseason have a history of success against Verlander.
If Alex Rodriguez is going to break out of his slump, it might come against Verlander. He has eight hits in 24 at bats against the right-hander. He’s hitting just .130 this postseason.
The Yankees have faced Verlander three times during the regular season, defeating him twice. One of those times, Phil Hughes threw a complete game, one-hit shutout at Detroit.
New York looks to Hughes to stop the bleeding in Game Three. He was inconsistent in 2012, but allowed just one run in his ALDS appearance against the Orioles.
Even if Hughes pitches great, it may not be enough. The Yankees will have to break out of their offensive funk to cut the Tigers series lead in half. They are hitting just .205 in seven playoff games.
Because of their recent struggles, New York is an underdog heading into Detroit. At most Las Vegas sportsbooks, the Tigers are a -175 favorite to win the contest.
The Yankees led the AL in wins for a reason. Their lineup is full of hitters with impressive track records. However, they’ve shown no signs lately that they are ready to end their slump, especially against one of the MLB’s best pitchers. Look for the Tigers to have a chance to close out the series in Game Four.
Game Three will be broadcast nationally on TBS on Tuesday night, starting at 8:07 p.m. ET. You can watch a live stream online at mlb.com for $4.99.