Kenny Rogers (4-4, 5.88) vs. Rich Harden (3-0, 2.60)
Back to baseball, after our brief diversion into hockey earlier. We're only two days into June, but maybe getting out of the month of May and turning a page on the calendar is what the Tigers needed. Besides winning yesterday in Seattle, was it important that this team rediscovered a sense of fun? I suppose we'll find out, judging on how they play tonight.
Nothing has been a sure thing for Detroit's baseball team this season, but Kenny Rogers is close to nails when pitching in Oakland. His career record there is 25-4 with a 3.46 ERA. Rogers is also coming off a fantastic start in Anaheim, in which he didn't allow a run over seven innings. So unless Rogers has trouble stringing together consecutive quality starts - which he hasn't - this could come together nicely for the Tigers tonight.
Rich Harden might have something to say about that, however. He's strung excellent starts together, allowing just four runs over his last three starts (covering 20 innings). And he's been posting good strikeout numbers since returning from the disabled list, so the stuff is definitely still there. But that's never really been a question with Harden, has it? It's always been about staying healthy.
Speaking of staying healthy, tweaks and bruises seem to keep the Tigers from fielding the same lineup from day-to-day. Brandon Inge won't be at third base tonight, as he's sitting out with a strained oblique muscle. (Watch those check swings, young man.) So Carlos Guillen is back at third tonight, with Clete Thomas playing in left field. (Keep that cult growing, Clete.)
Athletics Nation provides your SB Nation opposing view for this three-game series.