Nothing like a big series to make you feel alive, eh? The air is crisper, as the senses come alive with anticipation. Stand up on something, beat your chest, and roar your fury to the skies. There's going to be a showdown this weekend in Detroit.
As frustrating as the Tigers' recent struggles have been (I imagine it's even worse for Mariners fans), at least those respective slumps have brought us to this point. Three games of Thunderdome. Two teams enter tied in the Wild Card standings, one team leaves with at least a one-game lead over the other. Detroit comes into the series having toughed out two close victories over the White Sox. Seattle, meanwhile, gave up double-digit run totals in each of their last two games against the Yankees. And they've lost 12 of their past 15 games.
In his last two outings, Justin Verlander has pitched like a guy who wants play some baseball in October. He's allowed only one run over his past 13 2/3 innings, while racking up 16 strikeouts (and just five walks). The Tigers needed one of their young guns to start pitching like an ace; Verlander's been doing it. And he's going on an extra day of rest. Against Seattle this season, Verlander has a 2-0 record and 4.38 ERA.
Miguel Batista has been terrible in two of his past three starts. But his last one was a good one. Against the Blue Jays, Batista allowed only one run and five hits over seven innings. Unfortunately for him, the Mariners could only score one run themselves, and eventually lost the game. I guess that's been the story of their last two weeks. Before that start, however, Batista had given up 14 runs and 19 hits in his previous eight innings. There's not enough run support for pitching like that. Batista has faced Detroit once this season, and he had the good stuff going that day. The Tigers only managed one run against him in six innings.
Your SB Nation opposing view for this key series is brought to you by Lookout Landing. Expect some WPA graphs with hilariously appropriate graphics. Hopefully, the jokes are at the Mariners' expense.