The respective states of the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees may best be demonstrated by who each is sending to the mound Wednesday night as they continue a four-game set (6 p.m. pregame, 7:05 first pitch on FOX Sports Detroit).
The Tigers are turning to a third straight former AL Cy Young winner while the Yankees are using a journeyman who is with his third organization this year.
Detroit’s Justin Verlander and New York’s Chris Capuano match up in what has been a tightly contested series in the Bronx with these clubs splitting the first two games.
The AL Central-leading Tigers (62-48) have started Max Scherzer and new acquisition David Price in the first two games of this series and now turn to Verlander (10-9, 4.66 ERA), who has alternated wins and losses over his last five outings.
The 2011 AL Cy Young Award winner turned in his longest start since his second of the season when he yielded two runs in eight innings Friday to earn a 4-2 win over Colorado.
Detroit has dropped all six of the right-hander’s starts at the current Yankee Stadium, including one in the postseason. Verlander is 0-2 with a 4.78 ERA in those games.
Capuano (1-2, 4.50) is pitching for the third time with New York as he seeks to end an eight-start winless drought. Capuano, who began the season with Boston and later signed a minor league deal with Colorado, allowed four runs over 6 1-3 innings Friday in a 4-3 defeat to the Red Sox.
He is 2-0 with a 6.00 ERA in two career starts against the Tigers, but his two relief appearances versus them this year with Boston are more notable. He pitched two scoreless innings in one of them and gave up two runs in the other as the two batters he faced homered and tripled before he was yanked.
Victor Martinez homered off Capuano this year while Miguel Cabrera is 9 for 23 with four homers off the left-hander.
New York (58-54) won 2-1 in Monday’s opener before falling 4-3 the next night on Alex Avila’s homer in the 12th. The Yankees have played 16 straight games decided by one or two runs.
"These are the streaks during the season that you’re going to run into," catcher Brian McCann said. "That’s why you play 162 of them. There’s going to be weird streaks like this. This just happens to be the time."
Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter exited Tuesday with a bruised left hand after being hit by a pitch from Dellin Betances in the ninth. Hunter was listed as day to day, and manager Brad Ausmus said X-rays were negative.
"You always think the worst," Hunter said, his hand bandaged. "I thought it was broke."
McCann and Martin Prado hit solo home runs for the Yankees, who had won three in a row.
Mark Teixeira went 0 for 5 as he returned to New York’s lineup one day after he was a late scratch because he became lightheaded before the game.
Teixeira is 3 for 38 with 12 strikeouts against Verlander, including the postseason.
Derek Jeter is a .364 hitter off Verlander including the playoffs while Brett Gardner (.217) and Jacoby Ellsbury (.231) have struggled.