The New York Yankees managed to win their weekend series against the Boston Red Sox, but now they have a much tougher task at hand this week. Tonight the Yankees begin a four-game set with the powerhouse Detroit Tigers, a team that recently upgraded their already solid rotation with lefty David Price.
Price will get his first start as a Tiger tomorrow, in a series that the Yankees would love to somehow win. It’s not strictly a must-win series, but the Bombers will greatly benefit from taking three out of four from the AL Central leaders. Winning every series is important when you’re fighting to stay in the hunt for October, but this series will be an especially tough one for New York.
Winning this series will be extremely difficult; the Yanks will face the last three AL Cy Young winners in consecutive games over the next 72 hours. It’s hard to recall that ever happening to any team, but the Yanks will face reigning Cy Young winner Max Scherzer tonight, Price tomorrow and Justin Verlander on Wednesday.
It’s hard to expect a series win facing that kind of starting pitching, but the Yankees will gain valuable ground on their division rivals ahead of them if they can pull it off. The first-place Baltimore Orioles and second-place Toronto Blue Jays will face each other in a three-game set that starts tomorrow, giving the Yanks an opportunity to close the gap.
Every game must have a loser, and if New York is successful against the Tigers, they know they’re gaining on somebody in their division. It’s also important to note that many other teams are still in the race for the second wild card spot. With so many teams in the hunt, you’re almost certainly losing ground on somebody with every single loss.
This series with the Tigers is also a measuring stick for the Yankees to see if they can actually compete with the best pitchers and best teams in the league. It’s already a long-shot that New York will reach the playoffs, but will they be able to stand up to the competition in the playoffs if they get there? They might find out this week against Detroit. It’s also as good an opportunity as any to gain some confidence as a team.
It’s hard to think of a tougher situation over a three-game span, facing a Detroit team that has three Cy Young winners pitching and also boast the top team batting average in MLB. It’s not going to be easy, but a win in this series could inspire the Yankees to get on a roll. If the Yankees can stay in the hunt for the playoffs, they should hopefully receive some reinforcements in their starting rotation with the returns of Michael Pineda and Masahiro Tanaka in the coming weeks.
New York has to take each game one at a time and play mistake-free baseball. Against a team like the Tigers with the pitching they have, you can’t afford to beat yourself in any way. The Yanks will send Brandon McCarthy to face Scherzer tonight, hoping that he can improve to 4-0 as a Yankee. Tonight is the first meeting of the season between the Yanks and Tigers in a series that New York must find a way to win despite the odds against them.