Game 158 Preview: Tigers at Twins

David Maxwell - Getty Images

Justin Verlander looks to boost his Cy Young resume and the Tigers' playoff chances today against the Minnesota Twins.

Detroit Tigers (84-73) at Minnesota Twins (66-91)

Time/Place: 4:00 p.m., Target Field

SB Nation Blog: Twinkie Town

Media: FOX (broadcast map), Tigers Radio Network

Pitching Matchup: RHP Justin Verlander (16-8, 2.72 ERA) vs. RHP P.J. Walters (2-4, 5.88 ERA)

The last time the Tigers faced Walters, I said that there was no excuse for not lighting up a starter with an ERA above 6.00. They didn't, and Walters' solid outing knocked his ERA down by over half a run. He is 1-0 with a 2.95 ERA in three starts against the Tigers this season. Against everyone else? 1-4 with a 7.28 ERA.

One possible explanation for Walters' success is the number of strikes he is throwing -- or, to be more accurate, not throwing -- against the Tigers. 57% of his pitches to Tigers hitters this season have been strikes. Against everyone else, Walters is throwing 62% strikes. Whether this is by design or simply a product of a small sample size is anyone's guess, but the stats have backed up its effectiveness so far. The Tigers are fifth in the AL in O-swing %, the percentage of pitches swung at outside the strike zone. For a guy giving up line drives* at a 26.2% rate, getting hitters to swing at bad pitches is essential, and Walters is doing that against the Tigers this season.

*Standard caveats of line drive rates apply here

Verlander has only started one game against the Twins this season, but it was a doozy. JV made our country's founding fathers proud with a complete game victory on the 4th of July, holding the Twins to just one run on four hits in a 5-1 Tigers win. JV has done more of the same to his last three opponents, allowing just two combined runs in his last three starts. In three career starts at Target Field, he is 2-0 with a 3.60 ERA. More importantly, Verlander's strikeout-to-walks ratio has increased from 2.54 at the Metrodome to 4.75 at Target Field.

WHAT IS THIS DEMONRY

I had a sentence in this preview about being completely S.O.L. about seeing the Tigers play today if you live out of state, but the fates have smiled upon those of us on the East coast (and the Pacific northwest, for some reason). Anyway, back to your regularly scheduled preview.

Outlook

Once again, Verlander will be called upon to shoulder the load after a Tigers loss. I think we've all lost count of his ridiculous record in this situation over the past few seasons, but rest assured: it's still gaudy. He will need to be at his best today. Other things that go without saying (but I'm going to say them anyway): the Tigers offense needs to put up runs on Walters. Expect both of these things to happen this afternoon.

Prediction

Verlander goes eight strong innings and coasts to an easy Tigers victory.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Bless You Boys

You must be a member of Bless You Boys to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bless You Boys. You should read them.

Join Bless You Boys

You must be a member of Bless You Boys to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bless You Boys. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker