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Game 76: Cardinals (44-33) at Tigers (36-39)

Braden Looper (8-5, 4.10) vs. Kenny Rogers (5-4, 4.36)

    UPDATE: As expected, Gary Sheffield has indeed been activated from the disabled list. He'll be in the lineup tonight for Detroit, batting seventh as the designated hitter. Jeff Larish was sent down to Triple-A Toledo to open a spot on the 25-man roster.

One of the best teams in the National League rolls into Comerica Park tonight to challenge the Tigers' dominance in Interleague Play. The St. Louis Cardinals are one of the great surprises of the 2008 season, and currently hold the second-best record in the NL, 4 1/2 games behind the Cubs in the NL Central. They also took two of three from the Red Sox at Fenway Park over the weekend.

Braden Looper has been fantastic in his last three starts, allowing only three earned runs over 22 innings. He also hasn't walked a single batter in those three appearances, nor has he given up a home run. However, when Looper faced the Tigers last May at Comerica Park, he was shelled for seven runs and nine hits (two of them home runs) in just four innings.

While watching ESPN yesterday, the MLB league leaders over the past 30 days crawled across the bottom of the screen. Guess who leads the majors in ERA during that span? None other than Kenny Rogers, who posted a 1.00 ERA - almost a full run better than the runner-up. Rogers has pitched at least seven innings in his last five starts, which not only indicates how well he's been pitching but it's also helped the bullpen find its feet.

With the Cardinals in town, the Tigers will honor the 1968 World Series championship team that defeated St. Louis in seven games. Get there early, as the first 10,000 fans through the gates will receive a 40th anniversary Tigers replica road jersey and 18 members of the 1968 team will be on hand to sign autographs throughout the Comerica Park concourse from 5-6 p.m. Billfer has more details at The Detroit Tigers Weblog.

Our friends at Viva La Birdos provide the SB Nation opposing view for this three-game series.