New York (72-64) at Detroit (66-70)

Cloudy Currently: Detroit, MI
Temp: 30° F
  • Game info: 1:05 pm EDT Mon Sep 1, 2008
  • TV: YES, FSD
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The New York Yankees are running out of time to make a run at their 14th consecutive playoff berth. A 10-game road trip may be their last opportunity.

The struggling Yankees begin that trip and look to start September on a strong note Monday when they make a quick stop in Detroit to make up a May rainout against the Tigers.

New York (72-64) needed a strong effort during its recent homestand to climb back into the AL wild card race, but the Yankees’ pitchers continued to struggle, allowing six or more runs in four of the six games while dropping two of three to both Boston and Toronto.

Now, they embark on a difficult trip that also takes them to Tampa Bay, Seattle and Anaheim. The Yankees, 32-33 on the road this year, are seven games behind the Red Sox for the wild card and 12 1/2 back of Tampa Bay in the AL East.

They were just three games out in the division race and one game back of the wild card on July 26.They are 14-19 with a 5.64 staff ERA since.

Andy Pettitte struggled again on Sunday, allowing all the runs in a 6-2 loss to the Blue Jays. New York has scored three or fewer runs in five of the last six games, batting .188 with men in scoring position over that span.

“We’ve had our backs up against the wall a lot lately - and even more now,” outfielder Johnny Damon said.

With injuries to Chien-Ming Wang, Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes, the Yankees have been relying on a makeshift starting rotation for wins. Sidney Ponson (7-5, 4.80 ERA) hasn’t been able to help in that department lately.

Ponson is 0-3 with a 7.40 ERA in his last four starts, and he’s struggled mightily in his last two, allowing 11 runs and 15 hits over 6 2-3 innings in losses to Toronto and Boston.

“I just didn’t do my job,” Ponson said Wednesday, after yielding four runs in 4 2-3 innings of an 11-3 loss to the Red Sox. “The season’s getting shorter. We don’t have many games left.”

Ponson, who has lost his last three starts against the Tigers, owns a 5.92 career ERA in eight career outings against them.

While the Yankees still harbor fading playoff hopes, Detroit’s (66-70) fate has likely already been sealed. The Tigers (66-70) took two out of three from Kansas City over the weekend, but have still dropped five of their last seven, allowing seven or more runs four times over that span.

One of those games began with Justin Verlander (10-14, 4.53) on the mound. The right-hander hadn’t allowed an earned run in 12 2-3 innings in his previous two starts, but he gave up five runs in six innings of a 9-7 loss to Cleveland on Wednesday.

Verlander is 2-5 with a 6.47 ERA in his last five starts. He hasn’t faced the Yankees this season, but is hoping his success against them from 2007 - he went 2-0 with a 2.19 ERA - carries over.

The Tigers have played well against the Yankees this season, winning the first four games of the season series before losing 5-2 in the most recent meeting on May 10 at Comerica Park.

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Starting Pitchers

S. Ponson KC vs. J. Verlander Det
8-5 Record 11-17
5.04 ERA 4.84
58 K 163
48 BB 87
1.61 WHIP 1.40


Monday, Sep 1