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Open Thread - Game 83: Indians (51-33) at Tigers (48-34)

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C.C. Sabathia (12-2, 3.20) vs. Justin Verlander (9-3, 3.18), 1:05 p.m. EST

After (finally) getting their first win against the Indians at Comerica Park this season, the Tigers go for the series win and a one-game deficit in the AL Central. As big as last night's win may have been, any benefits will be short-term if Detroit can't follow up on it today.

Touting Justin Verlander's last outing as a "clash of titans" with Johan Santana didn't work so well for him, so I'll back off that kind of talk for his match-up against C.C. Sabathia. But it's possible that the winner of today's game could be the front runner to start for the American League in the All-Star Game on Tuesday. (Josh Beckett and Dan Haren would likely have something to say about that, however.)

When the Tigers faced Sabathia at the end of May, they hung five runs and 10 hits on him in 7 1/3 innings. Unfortunately, that didn't hold up because the Indians scored seven runs on Verlander in five innings and eventually won the game, 11-5. Playing the game in Detroit is no guarantee of a turnaround, as Sabathia won his previous start at Comerica Park. But Jason Grilli took the loss that day.

I'll try to post a lineup as soon as I see it, but it'll be interesting to see what happens with Marcus Thames today. Craig Monroe hits well against left-handers, but maybe Jim Leyland will decide he needs a little more time on the bench. Sean Casey hits lefties well, too, so sitting him isn't a no-brainer, either.

And remember, you have until 6 p.m. EST this evening to click in all the votes you can for Jeremy Bonderman. (Bondo is narrowly behind Boston's Hideki Okajima in the latest totals.) Vote often! Vote Bondo!

UPDATE: C-Mendo is indeed in the lineup, in left field and batting eighth. Thames is playing first base today, batting seventh.

Also, Ben Francisco is starting in left for the Indians, which has to seem like a good idea to anyone who's watched him play the last two nights.