08/15/10 12:51 PM ET
Scherzer feeling strong as Tigers head to NY
By Alex DiFilippo / MLB.com
Detroit saw a 5-1 lead evaporate to the White Sox on Sunday before battling back and regaining the lead en route to a 13-8 win. It marked the first series victory for the Tigers since the All-Star break.
The Yankees, on the other hand, wasted a sparkling one-run outing from starter A.J. Burnett on Sunday and fell to the Royals, 1-0, on the road.
Detroit has a great opportunity to keep its winning ways rolling, as its two most reliable pitchers, Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander, are slated to start the first two games of the four-game set.
On Monday, Scherzer will take the hill for the Tigers coming off a seven-inning outing in which he surrendered only two runs (one earned) against the dangerous Rays offense, yet took the loss. It marked Scherzer's third consecutive start of at least 6 1/3 innings with two runs or fewer, but the Tigers' struggling offense has left him winless in four starts since July 21.
In only his second full Major League season, Scherzer said his arm is feeling better than it ever has before. And with the Tigers' record at 9-23 since the All-Star break, they are going to need Scherzer's arm if they are going to climb back into the American League Central race.
"My arm feels so much better than it did last year," Scherzer said. "The first full season, it was getting stretched out to 170 innings. It was a lot for me. This year, I feel so much better. My arm is recovering so much better, even on a five-day rotation. It feels like forever now.
"That's one positive when you look at this season as a whole, my arm staying healthy for the whole season. I'm really happy about that."
Yankees starter Javier Vazquez hasn't pitched as efficiently as Scherzer lately. The right-hander was roughed up in his last start against the Rangers, lasting only 4 1/3 innings and allowing six runs on eight hits. It marked his second-shortest start of the season, as he lasted only three innings on May 1.
In his past three starts, Vazquez (9-8) hasn't made it through the seventh inning, posting a 0-1 record with a 7.31 ERA. After his last start, Vazquez said his arm hasn't felt the same as it has in the past.
"It's just frustrating for me," Vazquez said of his recent struggles. "All my career, I'm used to pitching 91 to 94 [mph]. Just seeing 87 and 88 is kind of frustrating. I guess I have to pitch with that, if that's what I have. ... I've got a lot of innings in my arm. Maybe it's catching up to me."
Yankees: Damon returns to the Bronx
After being a valuable part of the Yankees' team that won the World Series in 2009, Tigers outfielder Johnny Damon will make his first trip to Yankee Stadium this season on Monday.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi doesn't expect there to be any bad blood from the fans in New York. Instead, he thinks Damon will receive a warm welcome on his return.
"I think he'll get a warm ovation," Girardi said. "I think Johnny will have a smile on his face, and it'll be good to see Johnny. I think it'll be enjoyable, the first time he's come back.
"I always thought Johnny had a good relationship with the fans. Johnny's a very warm human being. I think that people really appreciated him."
Yankees fans may not appreciate it if Damon continues to have success against Monday's starter Vazquez. Damon is hitting .333 with two home runs in 24 at-bats against the right-hander.
Tigers: Cabrera drawing plenty of walks
In Sunday's victory against the White Sox, Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera was walked three times to up his total to 17 free passes so far in the month of August.
He saw 19 pitches in his first three at-bats, only two of which were strikes. Cabrera lined one of those strikes to right field in the seventh inning for his 27th homer of the season and singled on the other.
On Saturday, Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez surpassed Cabrera in RBIs this season with his big three-homer game. Rodriguez now has 97 RBIs, while Cabrera sits in second place with 95. Cabrera only has two RBIs in his past 13 games.
Yankees left-hander Damaso Marte (left shoulder inflammation) was scheduled to throw from a half-mound on Sunday. Girardi said it would be difficult to envision Marte returning before Sept. 1. ... Tigers utility man Ryan Raburn has three home runs in his past four games, upping his season total to six. ... Tigers infielder Jhonny Peralta had a two-homer game on Sunday, marking his second multihomer game since the Tigers acquired him on July 30.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.