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Game 88: Tigers (43-44) at Mariners (35-52)

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Nate Robertson (6-7, 5.56) vs. Ryan Rowland-Smith (2-1, 3.05)

One week after finally surpassing the .500 mark for the first time this season, the Detroit Tigers fell back below it after their second straight loss to the Seattle Mariners, who have the worst record in the American League. Winning today would salvage a series split. Baseball Musings has a post today showing how much the Mariners have improved in 15 games under interim manager Jim Riggleman.

Ryan Rowland-Smith makes just his second major league start today, filling Felix Hernandez's spot in the rotation. In his first start, he pitched a scoreless three innings before giving up three runs in the fourth. Fatigue was surely a factor, as that was the longest Rowland-Smith had gone into a game this season. He's apparently not fully stretched out for a starter's workload yet, so a patient approach from the Tigers might chase him from the game relatively early.

Nate Robertson has been a batting practice machine in his last two starts, giving up 11 hits in each of those appearances. Against the Cardinals, he somehow allowed only one run in that barrage. Robertson couldn't pull the same escape act against the Twins, however, giving up six runs. In his last three starts against Seattle, dating back to last year, Robertson has allowed at least four runs. At Safeco Field back in May, he served up two home runs to Adrian Beltre, but the Tigers' lineup bailed him out by scoring seven runs for him.

If you missed it, the All-Star lineups were just announced. Detroit will have one representative at Yankee Stadium, with Carlos Guillen being named to the squad.