By Brad Carroll
Miami Marlins relief pitcher Sam Dyson won't soon forget his trip to the Bronx, as he drew the intense anger of the Yankee Stadium crowd by choosing to not give Alex Rodriguez a chance to get his 3,000th career hit in the eighth inning Thursday night. Dyson threw four straight pitches out of the strike zone, sending A-Rod to first and leaving the crowd wanting the Marlin's head delivered on a silver platter, and boy did they let him know how much by booing and chanting incessantly for several minutes after he ruined their chance of witnessing history.
It's an almost certainty Justin Verlander won't pull a Dyson when he takes the mound for the Detroit Tigers Friday night to start a three-game series against A-Rod and the Yankees at the Stadium. So, what was the crowd's loss from Thursday night, is a gain for the crowd Friday night and possibly longer as Rodriguez sits just one hit shy of reaching one of baseball's great milestones.
Beyond the drama surrounding Rodriguez's quest for 3,000, the Yankees got two huge victories over the Marlins to start an eight-game homestand, responding to losing two games against those same Marlins in Miami, to remain one game back of the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East. The Yankees will look to continue those winning ways at home with a big series against the always-contending Detroit Tigers. Here is our insider's look at everything you need to know about the important series.
Detroit Tigers (34-32, 5.5 GB in AL Central)
at New York Yankees (36-30, 1 GB in AL East)
Friday, 7:05 p.m.
Justin Verlander (0-0, 3.60) vs. Adam Warren (4-4, 3.78)
Saturday, 7:15 p.m.
Alfredo Simon (7-3, 2.58) vs. Nathan Eovaldi (5-2, 5.12)
Sunday, 1:05 p.m.
Anibal Sanchez (5-7, 4.65) vs. Masahiro Tanaka (4-2, 2.49)
After losing two games in Miami to the Marlins, the Yankees got a pair of much-needed victories back in the Bronx against those same fish. The Yankees had lost five of six games before starting their homestand with two straight wins over Miami. After winning their first seven games of the month, the Yankees have gone 3-5 since. The Tigers are two games over .500 for the season and trail both the Kansas City Royals and Minnesota Twins in the AL Central, an unfamiliar spot for Detroit. The Tigers dropped two of three games to the Cincinnati Reds in a home-and-home series, with Thursday's game being postponed. Detroit is just 6-8 so far this June.
Three Tigers To Watch
1. The Tigers may not be having a typical Tigers season, but Miguel Cabrera is still having an MVP-type year. Cabrera, one of the best hitters in baseball, is batting .342 with 13 doubles, 15 home runs and 51 RBI. He leads the team in every major offensive category and is in the top three in five major stat categories in the American League. Cabrera is also beyond hot at the plate, going 11-for-22 (.500) over the past six games, with six runs scored, two doubles, three home runs and 12 RBI. If Cabrera keeps hitting as he has in his career, he won't be a free agent until the 2026 season.
2. J.D. Martinez has been on fire over the last six games, going 7-for-20 (.350) with a double, three home runs and seven RBI. He did go 0-for-4 in his last game out, so he might be cooling off at the perfect time for the Yankees. The outfielder is batting .265 with 13 doubles, 13 home runs and 34 RBI in 65 games. He's playing on a one-year, $3 million deal but can't be a free agent until 2018.
3. Verlander has returned from injury and will make his second start of the year Friday in the Bronx. He got a no-decision in his last start against Cleveland, allowing two runs on three hits over five innings, walking two, striking out two and letting up a home run. After putting together four tremendous seasons in a row, establishing himself as the best pitcher in baseball, Verlander has been rather ordinary the last two, going a combined 28-24 with an ERA around four.
The Yankees get a break, on paper anyway, as they begin a three-game series with the struggling Philadelphia Phillies starting Monday night.