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DET@BOS: Verlander fans six in rain-shortened outing

On Monday, Tigers ace Justin Verlander will try to begin a new streak of six-inning starts against perhaps the most powerful lineup in baseball.

The reigning American League Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Award winner had his streak of 63 straight starts of at least six innings snapped in his last outing, against the Red Sox, due to rain, but he'll take the mound in the first of four games against the Yankees at 7:05 p.m. ET.

Verlander will be up against right-hander Ivan Nova, who will be backed by the lineup that leads the Major Leagues in home runs this season and is also among the leaders in runs scored, RBIs and slugging percentage.

Verlander is 0-1 with a 5.11 ERA in two starts against New York this year and has not exactly fared well against the Bronx Bombers in his eight-year career. Since be broke into the big leagues in 2005, Verlander is 4-4 with a 4.17 ERA against the Yankees.

Verlander, admittedly, has not been at his best lately, posting a 1-2 record and 4.05 ERA over his last three outings. Whether due to the weather or another factor, skipper Jim Leyland noticed that in the right-hander's last outing.

"Verlander was totally out of sync," Leyland said. "I don't think I've seen him out of sync as much as he was tonight for a long, long time, for whatever reason. From the get-go, he was out of sync."

Verlander will have the task of recapturing his top form on Monday against the AL East's leaders, a squad that has lost 10 of its last 16 games. New York is coming off a 4-5 homestand, though it didn't play much better during its last road trip, going 2-5 against the A's and Mariners. The Yankees are embarking on a seven-game trip (four in Detroit, three in Toronto) and are in the midst of a stretch of 20 straight days without a scheduled day off through Aug. 22.

Nova will be looking to rebound as well, coming off a start against the Orioles in which he allowed a career-high nine runs on 10 hits in five innings. Nova has won just once in his seven starts since June 28, going 1-3 with a 5.14 ERA in that span.

"He had no fastball command, inconsistent slider, inconsistent curveball," manager Joe Girardi said after Nova's last outing. "He worked his tail end off after he gave up two singles in a row in the second inning to get two outs and two strikes, then threw a slider [to Mark Reynolds] that didn't break. It just kind of snowballed after that."

This series will represent the final meeting of the regular season between the Yankees and Tigers, who met in the AL Division Series last season.

Tigers: Baker to join club on Monday
Detroit acquired utility man Jeff Baker from the Cubs on Sunday in exchange for two players to be named. He is expected to join the club for Monday's game.

Baker should bolster the Tigers' lineup against left-handers, as the 31-year-old is hitting .275 (25-for-91) with eight doubles, three home runs and 12 RBIs against southpaws this season. He's a .304 career hitter against lefties.

Baker is batting .269 with 10 doubles, four homers and 20 RBIs in 54 games overall this year.

Yankees: Keeping it close
• Twelve of the Yankees' last 16 games have been decided by three runs or fewer, with seven of those games being decided by one run. The Yankees are 0-7 in those one-run ballgames. Ten of the team's 11 losses since the All-Star break have been by two runs or fewer; New York has lost by a combined 13 runs in those contests.

• The Yankees have taken two out of three in both of their series against the Tigers this year and have lost just four season series to Detroit since 1992 (2000, '04, '08 and '11).

Worth noting
• The Tigers have won 14 of their last 15 games at Comerica Park, dating to July 4. Detroit has built a 184-111 record at home since the beginning of the 2009 season.

• Nova's only appearance against the Tigers at Comerica Park came on May 13, 2010, when he threw two scoreless innings of relief. He owns a career 7.36 ERA (six earned runs in 7 1/3 innings) against Detroit.

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