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New York at Detroit

Venue: Comerica Park

This home opener should bring back some fond memories for the Detroit Tigers.

The last time the New York Yankees were in town, Detroit was finishing off a four-game sweep in the 2012 AL championship series.

Doug Fister takes the mound for the Tigers on Friday against New York's Ivan Nova, and expectations are high in Motown, even though the Tigers lost two of three at Minnesota to start the season.

"Hopefully the weather will be all right, and the people will be fired up," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said.

The Tigers beat the Yankees in the Division Series in 2011, winning the decisive game in New York. Last year, their postseason series was a mismatch. The Yankees' offense fell apart, and Detroit wrapped up the American League pennant with an 8-1 win in Game 4.

Since then, the Tigers have added outfielder Torii Hunter, and despite some uncertainty in the bullpen, Detroit is a fairly heavy favorite in the AL Central. New York, meanwhile, is trying to stay afloat despite injuries to stars Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson.

New York lost its first two games to Boston at home before 40-year-old Andy Pettitte pitched eight strong innings in a 4-2 win Thursday. Mariano Rivera, 43, earned the save in his first appearance of the final season of his storied career.

"Anybody that doesn't respect the Yankees is a fool, under any circumstances. I can tell you that," Leyland said.

Detroit's biggest question coming out of spring training was how the bullpen would perform. The Tigers don't have a set closer. Phil Coke closed out their win in the season opener, but he lost a lead in the ninth inning Wednesday.

Leyland doesn't seem eager to push his starters too much early in the season, so the bullpen could be tested on a regular basis. Detroit brought back Jose Valverde on Thursday, but only on a minor league contract.

Valverde lost his job as the Tigers' closer in the ALCS last year, but Detroit won the series with ease anyway. Right now, the Yankees have enough problems without worrying about avenging last year's disappointment, but playing the Tigers will be an early challenge.

"I guess it seems like we were just there, because this is the first trip and it was our last," said left-hander CC Sabathia, who is scheduled to pitch against Justin Verlander on Sunday.

The Tigers won their home opener last year, beating Boston 3-2 on Austin Jackson's ninth-inning hit. In fact, they haven't lost their first home game since 2008, the year they started 0-7 and went on to a disappointing season.

"Opening Day in Detroit is an event, so it'll be exciting," catcher Alex Avila said.

The biggest offseason move the Tigers made was signing Hunter to play right field. He's played at Comerica Park plenty in the past, but now he'll be a member of the home team.

Hunter had four hits in the opening series at Minnesota, but he hasn't homered yet. He's excited for the first home game with his new team.

"It could be crazy. We've just got to kind of harness it," Hunter said. "Don't get too pumped up and let the adrenaline take over. We've got to harness it and play your game."

Hunter is 1 for 7 with three strikeouts against Nova, who was left off the postseason roster after going 12-8 with a 5.02 ERA in 28 starts last year. The right-hander failed to build on his 2011 rookie season, when he went 16-4 with a 3.70 ERA.

Nova has faced the Tigers three times in the regular season and twice in the playoffs, making three starts and going 1-2 with a 7.29 ERA overall.

Fister has made four regular-season starts against the Yankees while facing them three times in the playoffs. He's 1-2 with a 5.18 ERA in the regular-season matchups but 1-1 with a 3.94 ERA in the postseason meetings, including two starts in which the right-hander registered a 0.79 ERA.

Outfielder Brennan Boesch, signed by New York last month after Detroit released him, is 7 for 12 with two doubles against Fister, who went 10-10 with a 3.45 ERA last season.

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Probable Starters

Ivan Nova, RHP
2013 stats
0.0 Innings Pitched 0.0
0-0 Wins-Losses 0-0
--- Earned Run Average ---
0 Walks 0
0 Strikeouts 0
0.0 Pitches Per Start 0.0
Career vs. opponent
12.2 Innings Pitched 24.1
0-1 Wins-Losses 1-2
9.24 Earned Run Average 5.18

Doug Fister, RHP
weather image  Morning clouds. Cool.
Hi TempLo TempWindHumidityPrecip %
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
NY Yankees4th AL East8176.516114-6 W 2
Detroit2nd AL Central8473.53576-4 W 1

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Game Odds
N.Y. Yankees 180 Detroit -190
NY Yankees
D. AckleyShoulder
G. BirdShoulder
N. EovaldiElbow
C. GreenElbow
T. HensleyElbow
A. JudgeOblique
J. KaprielianElbow
J. LindgrenElbow
C. MulleeHand
B. PinderElbow
N. RumbelowElbow
M. TanakaForearm
D. BrittonSuspension
D. HillElbow
M. RobertsonShoulder
D. VerHagenShoulder
K. ZiomekShoulder
Series Game Log
Apr 22DETCLE 2-1Tomlin Verlander 
Apr 23DETCLE 10-1Kluber Sanchez 
Apr 24DETCLE 6-3Bauer Greene 
May 3CLECLE 7-3Tomlin Verlander 
May 4CLECLE 4-0Kluber Sanchez 
May 5CLECLE 9-4Bauer Fulmer 
Jun 24DETCLE 7-5Salazar Zimmermann 
Jun 25DETCLE 6-0Carrasco Sanchez 
Jun 26DETCLE 9-3Tomlin Verlander 
Jul 4CLECLE 5-3Manship Rondon 
Jul 5CLECLE 12-1Carrasco Sanchez 
Jul 6CLEDET 12-2Fulmer Tomlin 
Sep 16CLECLE 11-4Kluber Fulmer 
Sep 17CLECLE 1-0Miller Wilson 
Sep 18CLEDET 9-5Norris Bauer 
Sep 26DETCLE 7-4Miller Farmer 
Sep 27DETDET 12-0  
Sep 28DET 7:10 PM EDT  
Sep 29DET 1:10 PM EDT