|Tigers ace Justi Verlander will take the ball for Game 3 in Detroit. (Getty Images)|
For Game 3, the ALCS shifts to Detroit's Comerica Park. Mega-ace Justin Verlander (17-8, 2.64) will go for the hosts, while Philip Hughes (16-13, 4.23) will take up the cause for the increasingly desperate Yankees.
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Yankee manager Joe Girardi had the option of starting CC Sabathia on short rest, but instead the big lefty will go in Game 4. Doing so will still allow Sabathia to start a possible Game 7 (against Verlander, it should be noted) on three-days' rest.
To the match-ups …
Hughes vs. Tigers
Hughes in 2012 made a pair of starts against the Tigers, and over those 13 1/3 innings he posted an ERA of 3.38 with 11 Ks against three walks. Throughout Hughes's career, hitters presently on the Detroit roster have batted .248/.288/.427 against him. In particular, Miguel Cabrera and Jhonny Peralta have crushed him over 24 and 21 plate appearances, respectively. Also perhaps worth noting is that over the course of his career, Hughes, a Yankee lifer, has fared better on the road: 4.63 ERA at home, 4.14 ERA elsewhere.
Verlander vs. Yankees
This season, the best pitcher in baseball has faced the Yankees three times, most recently on Aug. 6. Over those three starts, he's logged a 3.10 ERA with 22 strikeouts and five walks across 20 1/3 innings. Current Yankee hitters have teamed up to bat .239/.314/.391 against Verlander in their careers. The one who's been the most successful against the reigning AL MVP? Um, Derek Jeter (.883 career OPS vs. Verlander).
It goes without saying that Verlander has been on a roll this postseason: 0.56 ERA in two ALDS starts against Oakland. As mentioned before in this space, the way to score runs on Detroit is to put the ball in play so as to take advantage of the poor defense. Unfortunately for the Yankees, they'll be facing a guy who struck out 25% of the batters he faced in the regular season.