Aaron Laffey (3-3, 3.02) vs. Kenny Rogers (4-4, 5.54)
This could be wishful thinking on my part (and a big dose of that could go a long way), but the next three games might provide something the Tigers' lineup sorely needs. Detroit hasn't faced many left-handed starting pitchers this season, and it's one of the (many) reasons Tigers batters have performed so feebly. Last year, left-handers were pounded into mush by this lineup. And the Indians' will be starting lefties for the final three games of this series.
Aaron Laffey was blown up in his last start, giving up eight runs and 11 hits (two of them homers) in five innings against the Rangers at Ameriquest Field. Thanks to some late-inning fireworks from his lineup, however, Laffey didn't have to take the loss in that game. But that may have been an anomaly. In his five starts before this last outing, Laffey had been outstanding, allowing a combined six runs (three earned) in 28 innings. This will be his first appearance against the Tigers.
Kenny Rogers has pitched quite well himself recently, posting two straight quality starts in which he allowed two runs over 14 innings. Unfortunately, he didn't earn a win for his efforts in either of those games, as the Tigers could only manage two total runs on Rogers' behalf. (Stop me if you've heard that one before.) Rogers has pitched seven innings in his last two outings, so either he's getting stronger as the season progresses or perhaps the Tigers will have to keep an eye out for fatigue this afternoon.
It looks like today's game is third on the FOX totem pole as far as national coverage goes, so I don't know how many of you will get to watch the telecast outside of Detroit and Cleveland. (Otherwise, it's either Cubs-Dodgers or Mariners-Red Sox for you.) Considering how the Tigers have played on national TV this season, maybe that's a good thing. But we'll try to keep you apprised of the action here in the GameThread.