Yankees vs. Tigers: Gerrit Cole vs. Elvin Rodríguez

Game one of the three-game series between the Yanks and the Detroit Tigers will be underway in a little while. But we have to answer a question first:

Who is Elvin Rodríguez?

Rodríguez is a 24-year-old rookie right-hander who’ll be making his 3rd career big league start tonight, against the Bronx Bombers.

Rodríguez has thrown his four-seamer more than half the time (with league average velocity) and mixes in a change, slider and curve. In his first career start against Minnesota on May 23rd, he may have had some jitters as he walked three and allowed five hits over 5 innings in an eventual 5-4 Tigers loss. But he bounced back very well in his second start this past Sunday against Cleveland throwing four scoreless innings with four kays and no walks in an eventual 2-1 Detroit win.

Based on the young man’s heat maps he doesn’t shy away from the strike zone, so the Yankees’ batters may lean toward aggression in the box tonight. Speaking of aggressive…

Cue Kenny Loggins because Gerrit Cole will be toeing the slab in the Boogie Down tonight for the Yanks. Despite a sluggish start and characterizations from the media and fans, Cole still has a fantastic high strikeout rate to go with a low walk rate that’s put him on pace for about a five WAR season (pretty good for a guy who’s taken some grief from fans). All told, Cole is 10th in MLB in fWAR among pitchers, and in the top five in xFIP, K%-BB% and SIERA. An up and down Cole is still one of the best pitchers in baseball.

He’s been on a particular tear of late as over his last seven starts he’s thrown 46.1 IP, struck out 60 while only allowing 40 baserunners, and posting an average game score of 65. Facing a Tigers lineup tonight that wouldn’t scare most AA pitchers should serve the Yankees “Top Gun” well.

The first pitch from the Bronx is at 7:05 PM. You can watch the game on Apple TV, and listen to it on WFAN 101.9/660. As always, you can follow along with me @mybaseballpage1 on Twitter and on the “My Baseball Page” on Facebook.

Heave ho, four in a row, boys!

Yankees Lineup:

LeMahieu 2B
Judge RF
Rizzo 1B
Donaldson 3B
Andújar LF
Carpenter DH
Kiner-Falefa SS
Trevino C
Hicks CF

Detroit Lineup:

Willi Castro CF
Harold Castro LF
Jonathan Schoop 2B
Miguel Cabrera DH
Javier Báez SS
Jeimer Candelario 3B
Spencer Torkelson 1B
Tucker Barnhardt C
Daz Cameron RF

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