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Open Thread - Game 41: Cardinals (16-22) at Tigers (24-16), 7:05 p.m. EST

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Braden Looper (5-2, 2.29) vs. Andrew Miller (0-0, -.--)

Check out Five Questions with Viva El Birdos below.

The first weekend of interleague play in Major League Baseball brings the defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals to Comerica Park for three games. (We won't have to see another replay of Adam Wainwright striking out Brandon Inge, will we?) Last season, interleague play was berry, berry good to the Tigers, as they finished with a 15-3 record against the National League. And in their regular match-up with the Cardinals, the Tigers swept them out of Detroit by a combined score of 21-13.

For the third time in the last six games, the Tigers are starting a pitcher fresh up from the minors. Although given how much Zach Miner pitched with the Tigers last season (and considering he likely would've been on the 25-man roster had Chad Durbin not been out of options), it's really not fair to group him in with Virgil Vasquez or Miller. One would think Miller won't be as overwhelmed as Vasquez was last Sunday, since he pitched 10 1/3 innings with the Tigers at the end of last season. (He was 0-1 with a 6.10 ERA, along with 10 walks and 6 strikeouts.) In eight games between Lakeland and Erie this season, Miller has a 1-4 record with a 2.92 ERA, and 35 strikeouts in 49 1/3 innings.

Moving Looper from the bullpen to the starting rotation looked like a somewhat desperate (and money-saving?) move for the Cardinals, but he's posted one of the more surprising performances of the season. Only one of his eight starts this season has been bad. But in virtually every other appearance, including his last two, Looper has been outstanding. Making the transition from short reliever to starter, however, might eventually catch up with him. As Looper approaches the number of innings he pitched all of last season, the Cardinals have to be wondering how much more he can give them. For now, however, he's the best they have.

Your SB Nation opposing view for this series comes from the aforementioned Viva El Birdos.

Short Hops:

▪▪ Is Wil Ledezma on notice? Billfer takes a closer look.

▪▪ Jon Paul Morosi wrote a feature on the friendship between Placido Polanco and Albert Pujols.

▪▪ Bernie Miklasz thinks the Cardinals and Tony La Russa need to agree on a new contract, in order for the team to regain its focus.

▪▪ Yahoo! Sports' Tim Brown wonders if a return to Detroit might shake the Cardinals out of their malaise.