James Shields (8-7, 4.45) vs. Chad Durbin (7-3, 4.36), 7:05 p.m. EST
This baseball thing can be pretty fun when your team wins some games, eh? Even though the last two games have hardly been easy, it's been nice to turn off the TV with a good feeling.
I'm glad to see Chad Durbin back as a starter, even if it's presumably temporary. I didn't think he should've been the one to go to the bullpen once Kenny Rogers returned to the team, but his versatility is a big help to the pitching staff at a time when it's really needed. Durbin seems to have straightened himself out since two brutal, Grilli-esque outings in Chicago and Anaheim, but recently got sidetracked for the best possible reason, that being the birth of his first child. So if Durbin pitches tonight like someone who hasn't gotten much sleep, we'll know why.
Of course, the Tigers need him to be sharp tonight matched up against James Shields. At one point this season, Shields looked as if he was the Rays' new pitching ace. Some time around mid-June, however, the wheels seemed to fall off for this guy. Shields has only won two of his last 10 starts, and in the games he's lost, he was hammered pretty badly. Shields did beat the Tigers at the end of May in Tampa, allowing only three runs while throwing a complete game. But that was during his good part of the season.
Gary Sheffield will be back in the lineup tonight for the Tigers. He'll be manning his usual DH spot. And Jim Leyland is letting Ryan Raburn's magic carpet ride continue, as he's starting in left field tonight.