A three-game losing streak, including an 8-5 defeat in Thursday’s series opener, saw Yankees pitchers surrender 26 runs and 35 hits - including five homers. New York, though, has bounced back to win the last two games, with Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens providing strong starts before giving way to the bullpen.
The much-maligned Farnsworth has thrown four hitless innings since a nine-game stretch in which he posted a 7.00 ERA. Rivera had given up five runs and nine hits in 3 1-3 innings over his previous three appearances.
“I don’t have to prove or show anything. I know what I’m capable of doing,” Rivera said. New York, though, remained five games behind Boston in the AL East after the Red Sox rallied from a 5-0 deficit to defeat the Los Angeles Angels 10-5 later on Saturday.
Wang (13-6, 4.09 ERA) hasn’t helped New York’s playoff push lately.
He failed to get out of the third inning at Toronto on Aug. 8, allowing eight runs and nine hits in a 15-4 loss. Wang also surrendered three first-inning runs to Baltimore on Monday, and did not get a decision in the 7-6 win after being charged with five runs and eight hits in six-plus innings.
“Sometimes he looks like he gets a little tentative out there, and that comes from not having the same feel he had a month ago,” Yankees manager Joe Torre told the team’s official Web site. “He’s basically a sinkerball guy, and that’s his bread and butter. Sometimes, he may use the other stuff too much, and that may take some away from it.”
This contest could present Wang with a good chance to get untracked. He will be going on five days’ rest and has been at his best this year with that much time between starts, going 5-0 with a 2.93 ERA. He is 3-0 with a 2.52 ERA in four regular-season starts against Detroit, including two wins at Yankee Stadium.
He’ll be facing the Tigers for the first time since beating them in Game 1 of last year’s AL division series, giving up three runs in 6 2-3 innings of an 8-4 victory.
The Yankees lost the next three games of that series, with Bonderman (10-5, 4.65) beating them in Game 4 to end their season. He was perfect through five innings and pitched into the ninth, allowing two runs and five hits in the 8-3 victory.
Hideki Matsui is 7-for-15 (.467) with three homers against Bonderman, Alex Rodriguez has gone 7-for-22 (.318) with two homers and Johnny Damon is 10-for-25. However, those numbers don’t include their combined 0-for-9 performance against him in the ALDS loss.
The Tigers had to be encouraged by what they saw from Bonderman on Tuesday in a 6-2, 10-inning victory at Cleveland. The right-hander had lost four straight starts, posting an 11.28 ERA, but struck out eight in seven innings as he held the Indians to two runs and four hits.
He’s gone 2-4 with a 5.28 ERA in seven regular-season starts versus New York, and has been tagged for 14 runs and 28 hits in 20 career innings at Yankee Stadium.
The Bronx crowd has loudly booed former Yankee Gary Sheffield throughout this series and he’s gone 3-for-12 with no RBIs, with all of the hits coming off Clemens on Saturday.
“Did it seem like it bothered me? Nah, it didn’t,” Sheffield said of the boos. “Just means I’m special. You can get that kind of reaction from 60,000 people, it means you’re special.”
Cameron Maybin was the real bright spot for Detroit on Saturday, going 2-for-3 with a homer off Clemens after a hitless big-league debut Friday. The highly touted 20-year-old prospect played only six games in Double-A before being called up.
“Second big league game and I hit a home run off Roger Clemens. I can tell my kids about that,” Maybin said. “It felt pretty good to get one off of him.”