The Yankees and Tigers play the second game of a 4-game series Tuesday night in Detroit. Michael King makes just his 3rd start of the season for New York while Tarik Skubal is up in the rotation for Detroit.
The Tigers are the betting favorites in this game with -125 moneyline odds, while the over/under is set at 8.5 runs. The prediction here is that the Yankees win and the over hits.
Yankees vs. Tigers Prediction
Starting pitchers: RHP Michael King (3-5, 3.13 ERA) vs. LHP Tarik Skubal (3-2, 4.06 ERA)
Tarik Skubal’s scoreless inning streak at home ended in his last start against the Cubs.
Skubal had pitched 18-1/3 consecutive scoreless innings at Comerica Park over his first 4 home starts of the season after returning from the IL on July 4. Then the surging Cubs tagged him for runs in three consecutive innings before he settled down to finish with 4 runs allowed over 6 innings.
Can Skubal start a new streak today against the Yankees? It doesn’t seem likely considering the Yankees have been absolutely crushing lefties lately.
New York is 5th in the league this season in OPS (.789), wOBA (.338) and wRC+ (118) against lefties. Since August 1 only the Astros have been better against lefties, as the Yankees have posted a .995 OPS, .419 wOBA and 175 wRC+.
Aaron Judge is naturally the biggest threat, but virtually the entire Yankees lineup (7 players) has an OPS over .800 against lefties since the All-Star Break. Judge has a ridiculous 2.322 OPS over that span thanks to his 6 home runs. He is 2-for-5 lifetime with a home run against Skubal.
The other starting pitcher in this matchup, Michael King has spent most of his career including this season as a reliever. He has pitched well out of the bullpen this season and is getting an opportunity to earn a spot in the rotation thanks to a slew of injuries to the Yankees’ usual starters, namely “Nasty” Nestor Cortes.
King will operate as the opener in this game and will likely throw between 45-60 pitches. He is still ramping up to throwing a normal starter’s workload but has thrown at least 40 pitches in 3 of his last 4 outings (including 2 starts).
In King’s last two starts, Jhony Brito was the next pitcher on the mound and he also threw multiple innings, so the combination of King and Brito essentially functions as the starter. Brito started the year in the rotation but has pitched in a long relief role for 3 of his last 4 outings. Like King, he is battling for a spot in the rotation not only for the rest of this season, but also for next year and beyond.
Detroit has been one of the worst offenses in the league for most of the season, but they have been respectable against righties during the second half. They are middle-of-the-pack in average and OPS against righties since the All-Star break.
Rookie center fielder Parker Meadows has given them a spark offensively since he made his MLB debut on August 21. The Tigers No. 10 prospect is slashing .300/.440/.600 over his first 6 career games, including a walk-off 3-run blast on Friday night for his first career RBI and first home run.
PARKER MEADOWS CALLED GAME! pic.twitter.com/J3MPhW1WNN
— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) August 26, 2023
Expect both of these lineups to be able to find some success against the opposing starting pitchers, which makes the over on 8.5 runs (-105 at FanDuel) the best bet to place on this game.
While the Tigers have the edge on the mound with Skubal starting, we can’t ignore the Yankees’ stellar numbers against lefties all season. With that in mind, their +105 moneyline odds also look like a good bet.
Yankees vs. Tigers Prediction: Yankees moneyline (+105), over 8.5 runs (-105 at FanDuel)
Note: all metrics above taken before Monday’s games
Yankees vs. Tigers Odds
The Tigers are the betting favorites at -125 on the moneyline, while the Yankees’ moneyline odds are at +105.
The Tigers are laying -1.5 runs on the spread at +150 odds, while the Yankees are getting +1.5 runs at -180 odds.
DraftKings has the over/under in this game at 9 runs with -102 odds on the over and -118 odds on the under. FanDuel still has it at 8.5 runs as of this writing, with -105 on the over and -115 on the under.
Yankees vs. Tigers Key Matchups
Here are the key matchups that could decide Yankees vs. Tigers.
Tarik Skubal vs. (almost) all righties
The Yankees’ prowess against lefty pitchers this season, especially recently, was the main reason we picked the Yankees moneyline and the over in our Yankees vs. Tigers prediction.
Part of the reason for that is their extremely righty-heavy lineup. Not only are all the Yankees’ best hitters right-handed (Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres), but two of their only left-handed bats are currently injured (Anthony Rizzo and Billy McKinney).
Skubal has relatively significant righty/left splits in a small sample size this season. Righties are hitting .257 against him with a .657 OPS and .286 wOBA, while lefties are hitting just .161 with a .446 OPS and .195 wOBA.
If both the Yankees’ numbers against lefties and Skubal’s numbers against righties continue today, it should be smooth sailing for the Bronx Bombers.
On paper, the Yankees have the clear edge in the bullpen. They lead the league in bullpen ERA at 3.30 while the Tigers are 20th at 4.34.
But with King starting today, the Yankees will be without one of their best relief arms late in the game. Part of the reason for using King as an opener was the return of Jonathan Loáisiga from the IL and the acquisition of Keynan Middleton at the trade deadline.
Both of those pitchers have been lights out in August. Loáisiga has allowed no runs and just 3 baserunners in 7-2/3 innings while Middleton has allowed just 1 run over 12 innings (0.75 ERA) with a 0.83 WHIP.
While the Yankees have the advantage here, they also have only one lefty in the bullpen right now (Wandy Peralta), which could bite them against a lefty-heavy Tigers lineup.
Yankees vs. Tigers Starting Lineups (Projected)
Yankees Starting Lineup
1B DJ LeMahieu (R)
RF Aaron Judge (R)
2B Gleyber Torres (R)
DH Giancarlo Stanton (R)
LF Isiah Kiner-Falefa (R)
CF Harrison Bader (R)
3B Oswald Peraza (R)
SS Anthony Volpe (R)
C Kyle Higashioka (R)
Tigers Starting Lineup
LF Akil Baddoo (L)
RF Riley Greene (L)
1B Spencer Torkelson (R)
DH Kerry Carpenter (L)
3B Matthew Vierling (R)
CF Parker Meadows (L)
SS Javier Baez (R)
2B Zach McKinstry (L)
C Jake Rogers (R)