Dontrelle Willis (0-0, 7.50) vs. Dana Eveland (4-4, 3.66)
Jim Leyland's come up with an interesting idea for Dontrelle Willis's first start since rejoining the team last week, one which temporarily allows him to put off having to choose between uncertainty and a guy who's been the Tigers' best starting pitcher this season. As you probably already know, Willis will start the game for Detroit but won't necessarily have the pressure of having to go five or six innings. If he tires out or struggles, Leyland will bring in Armando Galarraga - who took Willis's spot in the starting rotation - to finish the effort and hopefully prevent the Tigers from having to call in a parade of relievers when they might be needed for tomorrow's day game.
Dana Eveland pitches for the Athletics, coming off his worst performance of the season, in which he gave up seven runs and 11 hits in just 4 1/3 innings versus the Blue Jays. Before that, however, Eveland threw his best game, allowing just one run in a complete game effort against those pesky Rays. So which guy will the Tigers face tonight? In his 10 starts this year, Eveland has given up more than three runs only twice.
As Eveland is a lefty, Jeff Larish will get the night off, making Marcus Thames your designated hitter. Ryan Raburn will start in left field, as Brandon Inge is still resting that strained oblique muscle, keeping Carlos Guillen at third base. And as Leyland said would occur, Curtis Granderson will stay in the lineup against a left-handed starting pitcher.
One last clerical note: I added a choice to this week's sidebar poll, which concerns the Tigers' left field situation. Considering how well Brent Clevlen has been playing lately - and he's hit another two home runs tonight for Toledo - I figured he should be added to the list of options. He's batting .325/.409/.591 for the season, with 10 home runs and 49 RBIs, going into tonight's game. Apologies if you've already voted.