Scott Kazmir (8-7, 3.72) vs. Jeremy Bonderman (10-4, 4.50), 1:05 p.m. EST
After getting shut down by James Shields last night, the Tigers go for the series win this afternoon at Comerica Park. It'll be difficult to argue that the team is no longer in a slump if they end up splitting this series with the Devil Rays.
By the way, if you want to add to your anxiety, consider that the Seattle Mariners are now tied with the Tigers for the AL Wild Card. And those New York Yankees are a half-game behind.
Here we have two starting pitchers that appear to be moving in opposite directions. Scott Kazmir has it working, winning three of his last five starts, while only allowing five total earned runs and averaging almost eight strikeouts. The Rays appear to have their ace back. (Unless you consider Shields that guy now.)
It's not going so well for Jeremy Bonderman lately. He's gone winless in his past four starts, and over his last three games, he's allowed 21 earned runs (and 27 hits). The first inning has been even more problematic for Bondo than usual, as he's given up four runs in each of his last two starts, forcing the Tigers to play catch-up.
Getting today's game in might be questionable, as there's been a lot of rain in southeastern Michigan throughout the morning and it could stick around throughout the afternoon. But it looks to be clearing up, so maybe there will only be a delay.
▪▪ Marcus Thames has been activated from the disabled list, and Mike Hessman has been sent down to Toledo to clear that roster spot.
▪▪ Billfer has heard that Cameron Maybin has been promoted to Double-A Erie, but is still awaiting confirmation.
UPDATE: It's official. Maybin's playing with the Seawolves now.