Tigers’ Verlander ready to battle Yankees, elements

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander is 5-7 in 17 career starts against the New York Yankees with a 4.03 ERA.

Detroit — Temperatures are supposed to warm slightly tomorrow, possibly getting back up to 40 degrees by the time the Tigers play the Yankees in ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” game at 8:10 p.m.

But there is a high probability of showers or a wintry mix.

Justin Verlander, who will get the start against the Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka, isn’t going to pay attention to any of those forecasts.

“I’m going to go home tonight and act like I’m pitching tomorrow,” Verlander said. “You don’t take weather for granted. It’s a little bit of a drain, though, being in game mode and then have like a five-hour rain delay and it gets rained out and you have to do it again tomorrow.

“So, nothing changes as far as weather is concerned.”

Verlander watched the Tigers lose to the Yankees, 8-4, Saturday in the coldest game ever played at Comerica Park. It was 31 degrees at game time and temperatures never got above freezing.

“The hardest part is keeping my fingers warm and maintaining a feel for the ball,” he said. “If I don’t have a feel for the ball, obviously, I would have to make some adjustments.”

Verlander hasn’t had a lot of success against the Yankees over his career. He’s 5-7 in 17 career starts against them with a 4.03 ERA and a 1.419 WHIP.

“There’s a lot of the same guys we’ve faced over the years,” Verlander said. “We both know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.”

Verlander said he wants to build on his first start of the season, when he pitched five no-hit innings at Miami before allowing three runs in the sixth.

“Just consistency,” he said when asked what he was looking for in his second start. “The first start was pretty good. I want to continue to build on that, build up arm strength. It will be a little different dealing with the elements. That will be a challenge.”

Twitter: @cmccosky