Detroit Tigers (63-52) at Pittsburgh Pirates (62-55) — 7:05 p.m. ET
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PNC Park — Pittsburgh, PA
TV: Fox Sports Detroit
Radio: 97.1 The Ticket (click for affiliates)
Weather: 73 degrees, slight chance of storms
After yesterday’s 19-inning nightmare, the Tigers needed to replenish their bullpen. To do that, they made a flurry of roster moves.
- Two teams seemingly headed in opposite directions will face-off in a four-game, two-city series beginning tonight in the Steel City
- The Pirates started the season off cold, after making the postseason last year for the first time in 21 years, but have caught fire and sit just 2.5 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central. Meanwhile the Tigers will look to somehow break out of their post-All-Star game swoon while facing a very good team over the next four days.
- The Tigers will not be facing the Pirates’ best player, and one of the best emerging stars in the game. Andrew McCutchen was struck with a pitch last week and is out indefinitely. The team hopes he can rest up and get some rehab starts without a stint on the disabled list.
When We Last Met
These two teams met in a similar series last season with the first two games in Detroit, followed by two in Pittsburgh. The Tigers eeked out a 6-5 victory in the first game at Comerica Park and dropped the next three games, including a pair of 1-0 defeats.
Justin Verlander (10-10, 4.57) continues his redemptive run of starts as he faces the Pirates in Game 1. With Anibal Sanchez now on the scrap heap until at least mid-September, it is of vital importance that Verlander continue looking better and not return to his bad starts of earlier this season. He allowed two runs in a loss to the Yankees on Wednesday and has gone deep into the game in his last four starts. J.V. was the winning pitcher in the only victory of last season’s series for the Tigers, going seven innings, allowing three runs while striking out 13. In 2012, Verlander nearly clinched the third no-hitter of his career against Pittsburgh, but a Josh Harrison two-out single in the ninth inning spoiled the bid.
Jeff Locke (3-3, 3.78) will present another lefty matchup for the Tigers, who have not done well against southpaws–or any pitcher for that matter–lately. Locke has hit a bit of a rough patch lately, allowing 15 runs over his last three starts, though he got the win by allowing three runs over seven innings to Miami on Wednesday. He was the starting pitcher for one of the 1-0 Pirates’ victories last May, earning a no-decision with 5 1/3 shutout innings.
Detroit Tigers Lineup
- Rajai Davis-CF
- Ian Kinsler-2B
- Miguel Cabrera-3B
- Victor Martinez-1B
- Torii Hunter-RF
- J.D. Martinez-LF
- Alex Avila-C
- Eugenio Suarez-SS
- Justin Verlander-P
- Anibal Sanchez – Out indefinitely
- Joakim Soria – 15-day DL
- Luke Putkonen – Out indefinitely
- Andy Dirks – Out indefinitely
- Joel Hanrahan – 60-day DL
- Jose Iglesias – Out for season
- Bruce Rondon – Out for season