Game 53 preview: Tigers at Orioles

Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Sluggers Miguel Cabrera and Chris Davis meet this weekend, as Max Scherzer and Miguel Gonzalez take the mound to try to stop 'em.

Detroit Tigers (29-23) at Baltimore Orioles (30-24)

Time/Place: 7:05 p.m. ET, Camden Yards

Media: Fox Sports Detroit, Tigers Radio Network

Opposing blog: Camden Chat

Pitching matchup: Max Scherzer (7-0, 3.42) vs. Miguel Gonzalez (2-2, 3.94)

I did not realize Max Scherzer was 7-0 this year, which is probably an indictment on me as a blogger as much as anything -- or maybe it's just evidence the only time I look at a pitcher's win-loss record is when writing a preview. In any case, Scherzer's pitching and record have both been excellent this year.

As I've said before, the Tigers have four of the top starters in baseball. This is how good: at 2.39 Scherzer has the third-best FIP in his own rotation; he is seventh-best in baseball. He's striking out 10.7 per nine innings (a rate of percent). That, too, is third best on his own team but fourth in baseball. It boggles the mind.

Miguel Gonzalez is 29 years old. This will be only the 24th start of his career. As a 28-year-old rookie he went 9-4 with a 3.25 ERA for the Orioles after spending portions of six seasons in the minors. I didn't hear much about this story at the time, but that's pretty great. Gonzalez last year excelled at stranding baserunners to the tune of an above-average 83 percent. This year the number is 73 percent, a more sustainable figure.

This will be his third start since coming off the disabled list. (Tigers' tie-in: Jair Jurrjens was optioned to make room.) Since then he's allowed three runs in more than 12 innings, so there seem to be no lingering effects.

In there is one weakness to be found, it's in free passes. Gonzalez issued three in less than six innings his last time out. Before hitting the DL, he walked 14 in 29 innings in April, including a five-walk game against the Yankees. He doesn't typically strike out a lot either, though his season-high of seven happened his last time out.

Outlook

More interesting than the pitching matchup is the meeting of Miguel Cabrera and Orioles slugger Chris Davis. (Photographers would be wise to take a picture of the two chatting with each other.) Cabrera is coming off a Triple Crown win in 2012 and a surge earlier this month allowed him to briefly lead all three Triple Crown categories. I say briefly because about an hour later Davis hit another HR to retake the lead in the category. Right now, Cabrera leads Davis by 15 points in average and nine RBI. Davis leads Cabrera by four home runs. One or the other can be found atop the AL (and sometimes MLB) rankings in pretty much every batting category, traditional or saber. (Well, not doubles or triples, these guys prefer a more leisurely pace.) MLB could be in for one heck of a storyline this year if Cabrera and Davis can keep it up through the dog days.

We wrote about it at SB Nation today, by the way. Here's my set-up for it, and here's Marc Normandin's closer look at whether Davis can keep it up. Please read them!

So, my outlook? Dingers. Several of them during the course of the weekend.

Prediction:

Somebody hits a homer. Or crosses home plate, anyway. I can't go wrong on this one right?

/waits for the rainout

More Roars:

Pirates 1, Tigers 0: Next verse same as the first

Friday’s links

Cabrera, Davis and the quest for a second crown

Month in review: Pitcher face edition

Extending Austin Jackson makes sense

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