Edwin Jackson (2-11, 6.56) vs. Justin Verlander (11-4, 3.49), 7:05 p.m. EST
I want to say that the Devil Rays are exactly what the Tigers need right now. And maybe they are. But excuse me if I don't feel entirely confident about that. They took two of three from Detroit in Tampa Bay at the end of May, you might remember. But they're not coming into Comerica Park on a hot streak (losing nine of their last 13), so maybe this will be some much-needed antibiotic ointment for the Tigers' wounds.
And if you're currently living in fear of the Yankees, you might want to take something to smooth out, as their win over the Blue Jays this afternoon has them tied in the Wild Card standings with the Tigers. Of course, a win tonight would restore Detroit's half-game lead.
Also working in Detroit's favor could be Edwin Jackson. He may be pitching better than his record shows (and he did lose his last start, despite allowing no earned runs over six innings to the Blue Jays), but he also has some stinkers on his game log for the season, so perhaps he has the record he deserves. At the very least, the Tigers can't lose to this guy if he lets a baseball hit him in the face again. (Although that seemed to have made something click in Jackson's brain that night.)
Justin Verlander just has to pitch better. It's as simple as that. We know he's better than what he showed last week in Oakland. Jim Leyland wasn't too happy with Verlander's effort either, saying he needed to be more assertive with a 3-0 lead. Verlander certainly wasn't efficient, throwing 106 pitches in just 5 1/3 innings.
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