Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Since starting 4-0, the Detroit Tigers have dropped five of their last seven and look to get their bats going in the abbreviated series finale with the Cleveland Indians this afternoon.
While Detroit has struggled on offense over the last week plus, the Tigers’ starters haven’t been doing the team any favors by getting into early holes–as Anibal Sanchez did last night. Hoping to not go down the “Jeremy Bonderman” route of always allowing first inning runs, the Tigers will turn to their ace, Justin Verlander.
Verlander is historically great in day games, and during his best years from around 2010-2012, he often served the role as stopper for his team, ending losing skids. Of course, he could have another great outing and the bats could still be ice-cold.
A total team effort is needed to pull out a series split.
Detroit Tigers (6-5) vs. Cleveland Indians (7-7) — 1:08 P.M.
Comerica Park – Detroit, MI
Radio: 97.1 The Ticket
Weather: 59 degrees, sunny
When We Last Met
Anibal Sanchez walked the bases loaded in the first last night and started to do it again in the second, but fortunately only yielded three runs. Sanchez and the Tigers bullpen shut the Indians out the rest of the way–but three was all they needed, as the Tigers botched a couple late inning rallys to tie, including having the tying run at third base with one out in the ninth. Cleveland won 3-2.
Justin Verlander (1-1, 2.57) has looked like vintage JV through his first three starts (other than the strikeouts have been lower), but he hasn’t received much run support. Hopefully in a sign of things to come, the Tigers bats did score six runs for their ace in his last start, a 6-2 win in San Diego on Saturday.
Though Justin had an up and down 2013, he took care of business against Cleveland, posting a 3-1 record with 3.38 ERA in five starts. Michael Brantley loves hitting against Verlander, posting a .395 average (15-for-38 with six RBI) while Asdrubal Cabrera is hitting a dreadful .204 in 54 at-bats.
Danny Salazar (0-1, 6.75) was knocked around for five runs in his last start, though he did strike out 10 White Sox in a 7-3 loss last Thursday, but the Tigers’ offense has faced other pitchers that have had their problems thus far in 2014 and mostly helped to right their ship. Salazar pitched very well against Detroit in 2013, starting two games without a decision but posted a 2.63 ERA.
No current Tiger has faced the right hander more than seven times.
No changes to last night’s lineup, meaning Alex Gonzalez gets another start at short. Think happy thoughts, think happy thoughts….