Javier Vazquez (7-8, 4.57) vs. Zach Miner (4-3, 3.73)
Trying to keep the damage to a minimum is what the Tigers are left with in today's series finale. Detroit came into the weekend 5 1/2 games behind the White Sox, and if they can keep the deficit at 6 1/2... well, that's better than 8 1/2. So is staying above .500.
Javier Vazquez is winless in his last five starts, but that doesn't necessarily reflect how he's pitched. Vazquez threw 10 strikeouts versus Texas in his previous outing, but served up one home run ball to Josh Hamilton, and that was the difference in the game. The Tigers got to Vazquez the last time they faced him, tagging him for five runs and 10 hits in six innings. Before that, however, Vazquez shut them out over seven innings. In both games, Detroit struck out nine times.
Zach Miner was exactly what the Tigers needed in his first start of the season against the Royals, allowing no runs and just three hits in six innings. For one game, anyway, Miner looked like the answer to Detroit's season-long quest for a fifth starting pitcher. But both as a starter and reliever, Miner has struggled against the White Sox. As a starter in 2006, Miner had an 0-2 record and 13.50 ERA, throwing just 6 1/3 innings. As a reliever this season, he has a 9.00 ERA in just four innings.
In today's Freep, John Lowe points out that Magglio Ordonez can do something that hasn't been done in 32 years if he gets three hits for the fifth straight game. The last player to have a streak like that was George Brett, who got three hits in six straight games back in 1976. Maggs' recent hit parade has him tied for second place in the AL batting race at .324, four points behind the Rangers' Ian Kinsler.