May 10, 2010

Yankees-Tigers series preview, Nova promoted

The Yankees enter their first four-game series of the year a half-game behind the Rays for the division lead. Playing at Detroit, the Yankees will see a few old friends dressed up as Tigers, namely, outfielders Johnny Damon, Austin Jackson (league-leader in hitting) and reliever Phil Coke.

The Tigers are 9-3 at Comerica Park and are opening a nine-game homestand tonight. Monday and Wednesday’s affairs will be aired nationally on ESPN.

The Yankees have to be feeling good, winning six of their last seven despite losing Nick Johnson and Curtis Granderson to the DL. Winning is easy when you have five guys hitting over .360.

The only thing bothersome is Andy Pettitte missing this week’s start after leaving Wednesday’s game after 77 pitches.

The latest news out of Yankee camp is the promotion of Ivan Nova to the big leagues. He replaces Romulo Sanchez, who through 3 2/3 brilliant shutout innings last night against the Red Sox. As The Post reports, Nova will be a long reliever.

Pitching Matchups:

Date: Yankees starters Tigers starters
Mon., 7:05 p.m. Sergio Mitre (0-0, 2.79) Dontrelle Willis (1-1, 3.99)
Tues., 7:05 p.m. J. Vazquez (1-3, 9.78) Rick Porcello (2-3, 7.50)
Wed., 7:05 p.m. Phil Hughes (4-0, 1.69) J. Bonderman (1-1, 7.14)
Thurs., 1:05 p.m. CC Sabathia (4-1, 3.04) J. Verlander (3-2, 4.50)

Players to Watch:
Yankees: Javier Vazquez
. Tuesday’s start may be the last straw. One more wretched start and I predict he’ll be placed on the disabled list. As Brian Cashman said, don’t expect a brilliant showing Tuesday night, but just putting the Yankees in a position to win. It’ll be imperative the Yankees get him some early run support off Rick Porcello.

Tigers: Miguel Cabrera. He’s the hottest player on either team, hitting .478 so far in May. He’s the league-leader in RBIs (33) and he’s always had success against the Bronx Bombers.

A realistic pace of wins has to set in soon. There’s no way the Yankees are going to win the 113 games they’re projected to win at this rate. With Sergio Mitre and Vazquez starting in the series, I expect a split.

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