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Open Thread - Game 136: Tigers (72-63) vs. Athletics (67-69)

Justin Verlander (14-5, 3.77) vs. Dan Haren (14-5, 2.72), 3:55 p.m. EST

It's probably unrealistic to expect Justin Verlander to pitch as well as he did last time out against the Yankees (no runs and three hits over seven innings). But if the Tigers are going to hang tight in the AL Central and Wild Card races for this last month of the season, they'll need Verlander to have that kind of stuff in every one of his remaining starts. In two games against the A's this season, he has a 1-1 record and 3.97 ERA.

Dan Haren has been a Cy Young Award candidate all season, but has slowed down a bit over his past five starts, winning just one of those games. But even when he comes out on the losing end, as he did in his last start against the Devil Rays, Haren hasn't melted down. Despite the loss, he still notched 10 strikeouts in six innings, while allowing three earned runs and four hits. Something to note over Haren's last two starts, however, is that he's been giving up some home runs. Opposing lineups have taken him deep five times in his last 12 innings. Haren has a 1-1 record this season against Detroit, with a 3.65 ERA.

The Tigers begin today 5 1/2 games behind the Indians in the AL Central, and three games out of the top spot in the Wild Card standings.

Short Hops:

▪▪ It will depend on how he feels today, but it sounds like Kenny Rogers is ready to rejoin the Tigers' starting rotation next week. Cameron Maybin and Ryan Raburn were impressed, anyway.

▪▪ For whatever reason, the commissioner's office was holding off on approving the Tigers' contract with fifth-round pick, Casey Crosby. MLB finally signed off on the deal yesterday, however.