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Open Thread - Game 26: Orioles (12-14) at Tigers (14-11), 7:05 p.m. EST

Adam Loewen (2-0, 3.20) vs. Chad Durbin (1-1, 6.65)

The Orioles don't dare try to throw at Sheff tonight, do they? The bear has been poked. He's angry. He's roaring. And he's holding a bat.

With that bat getting warmer over the last seven games, it was only a matter of time before Sheffield's average crept up to the .200 mark. And after going 1-for-2 (with two walks) last night, that's exactly the number he's sitting on. The two RBIs he racked up, by the way, tied him with Mickey Mantle for 45th place on the all-time major league list with 1,509 RBI. Sheffield likely will be setting quite a few milestones while in a Tigers uniform, so we should probably get used to seeing factoids such as this.

Loewen pitched well against the Tigers when he faced them in Baltimore, giving up no runs in five innings. But he does lead the American League in walks, and issued four of them in that last start against Detroit. (Given what we saw from Daniel Cabrera last night, it's kind of surprising that someone else has walked more batters.) And the Tigers' lineup has been pounding left-handed starters recently (yes, even Johan Santana).

Meanwhile, Durbin was a revelation last week against the White Sox, pitching what was easily his best start of the season. Jim Thome and Jermaine Dye didn't play, and the rest of the lineup probably wasn't very patient, but eight scoreless innings and nine strikeouts is still pretty damn impressive. If Durbin now has a better idea of what he needs to do to get batters out, it's a huge boost for the Tigers' starting rotation.

And last night, I forgot to mention that your SB Nation opposing view can be found at Camden Chat.

Short Hops:

▪▪ Jose Mesa will start tonight for AAA Toledo against Scranton Wilkes-Barre. According to MLB.com's Jason Beck, he'll throw two innings or 25 pitches, whichever comes first. If everything goes well, that will probably be it for his rehab assignment.

▪▪ Beck also talked to former Tigers reliever Jamie Walker and asked him about his return to Detroit. He mentions that he asked to receive his AL Championship ring in the Baltimore clubhouse, rather than on the field in Detroit, because he "didn't want to be a distraction."

UPDATE: This just in via Billfer: Neifi Perez will start at shortstop tonight, while Omar Infante plays in centerfield.