Luis Mendoza (0-2, 9.00) vs. Justin Verlander (1-3, 6.33)
Between allowing just three runs over 6 2/3 innings to the Jays in his last start, the lineup put eight runs on the board for him, Kenny Rogers finally got himself a win over the weekend in Toronto. That ended a season-opening three-game losing streak (in which he had zero runs scored for him). In his career against the Rangers, Rogers has a 6-3 record and 3.80 ERA.
Luis Mendoza makes only his second start of the season, after beginning the year on the disabled list with a blister on his pitching hand. Last time out, the Red Sox pounded him for seven runs in just three innings (though Mendoza didn't help his cause with three walks). This will be the first time he's faced the Tigers.
Curtis Granderson probably picked the right night to return to the Tigers' lineup, as left-handers bat .346 against Mendoza. He steps back into his usual spots in center field and batting leadoff. (Clete Thomas boards the I-75 shuttle to Toledo to open up a roster spot.) So Detroit is one step closer to seeing the batting order we've been anticipating since December. Gary Sheffield just needs to recuperate from the cortisone shots he took to each of his shoulders, and these Tigers might finally get to show all their teeth. Placido Polanco will also sit out one more night while medication reduces inflammation in his lower back.
And would you believe after all the hullabaloo with Carlos Guillen and Miguel Cabrera switching defensive positions, we won't even get to see either player across the diamond tonight? With Sheffield still out, Cabrera will be the designated hitter. Thus, Guillen will play first base for at least one more night, while Brandon Inge starts at third base. And at second base, the slugging Ramon Santiago fills in for Polanco.