Game 56 Preview: Blue Jays at Tigers

Tom Szczerbowski

Smokey, this is not 'Nam. This is bowling. There are rules.

Toronto Blue Jays (36-24) at Detroit Tigers (31-24)

Time/Place: 1:08 p.m., Comerica Park

SB Nation blog: Bluebird Banter

Media: Fox Sports Detroit, MLB Network MLB.TVTigers Radio Network

Pitching Matchup: LHP J.A. Happ (4-2, 4.10 ERA) vs. RHP Justin Verlander (6-4, 3.99 ERA)

Pitcher GS IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 WHIP FIP SIERA fWAR
Happ 6 37.1 7.96 4.58 1.69 1.55 5.27 4.42 -0.1
Verlander 12 79.0 6.49 3.53 0.46 1.44 3.50 4.53 1.7

Way out west there was this fella ... fella I wanna tell ya about. Fella by the name of J.A. Happ. At least that was the handle his loving parents gave him, but he never had much use for it himself. Mr. Happ, he called himself "The Dude." Now, "Dude" -- that's a name no one would self-apply where I come from. But then there was a lot about the Dude that didn't make a whole lot of sense. And a lot about where he lived, likewise. But then again, maybe that's why I found the place so darned interestin'. They call Toronto the "Queen City." I didn't find it to be that, exactly. But I'll allow there are some nice folks there. 'Course I can't say I've seen London, and I ain't never been to France. And I ain't never seen no queen in her damned undies, so the feller says.

But I'll tell you what -- after seeing Toronto, and this here story I'm about to unfold, well, I guess I seen somethin' every bit as stupefyin' as you'd see in any of them other places. And in English, too. So I can die with a smile on my face, without feelin' like the good Lord gypped me. Now this here story I'm about to unfold took place back in the early '90s -- just about the time of our conflict with Sad'm and the I-raqis. I only mention it because sometimes there's a man ... I won't say a hero, 'cause, what's a hero? But sometimes, there's a man. And I'm talkin' about the Dude here. Sometimes, there's a man, well, he's the man for his time and place. He fits right in there. And that's the Dude, in Toronto. And even if he's a lazy man -- and the Dude was most certainly that. Quite possibly the laziest in Ontario, which would place him high in the runnin' for laziest worldwide. But sometimes there's a man, sometimes, there's a man. Aw. I lost my train of thought here. But ... aw, hell. I've done introduced him enough.

Meanwhile, Justin Verlander is not Jewish. He is Polish Catholic.

Hitter to fear: Jose Reyes (.571/.625/.714 in 8 plate appearances)
Hitter to fail: Melky Cabrera (.182/.240/.273 in 25 plate appearances)

Individual matchups between Verlander and Blue Jays hitters have been interesting, to say the least. Of the eight hitters on their roster Verlander has faced, Jose Reyes is the only one with a batting average above .240. However, four players (including Reyes) are slugging over .500. Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind have both homered twice, while Jose Bautista has a dinger of his own. Overall, Verlander has held the Jays to a .679 OPS, but has allowed a 4.02 ERA in eight starts. Only Lind and Encarnacion remain from the Blue Jays team that Verlander no-hit in 2011.

Outlook

Danny was a good bowler, and a good man. He was one of us. He was a man who loved the outdoors ... and bowling, and as a surfer he explored the beaches of Southern California, from La Jolla to Leo Carrillo and ... up to ... Pismo. He got designated for assignment, like so many young men of his generation, he was DFA'd before his time. In your wisdom, Lord, you took him, as you took so many bright flowering young men at Khe Sanh, at Langdok, at Hill 364. These young men gave their lives. And so would Danny. Danny, who loved bowling. And so, Daniel Weston Worth, in accordance with what we think your final wishes might well have been, we commit your final Tiger remains to the bosom of the Detroit River, which you loved so well. Good night, sweet prince.

Prediction

Screw it, dude, let's go bowling.

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