Tonight at Comerica Park begins a series between two teams expected to contend for their respective division titles, but instead find themselves teetering around the .500 mark. If you're a bit unfamiliar with these visitors from our neighboring country to the north, our friend Blake has posted an excellent primer on the Toronto Blue Jays over at The Spot Starters.
The Jays' starting pitcher this evening, Shaun Marcum, is coming off an excellent start in which he allowed only one run and three hits (with seven strikeouts) over seven innings. But that was against the Oakland Athletics, and as we saw this weekend in Detroit, they don't necessarily provide the stiffest competition. That victory broke a seven-game winless streak. The Tigers were successful against Marcum back in April, scoring four runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings.
Justin Verlander hasn't pitched like the staff ace recently, posting a combined 9.53 ERA in his last three starts. Does it need to be pointed out that he took the loss in each of those games? To be fair, however, Verlander pitched pretty well against the White Sox in his last start in the second through seventh innings. Unfortunately, he gave up five total runs in the first and eighth. This is his first career start against the Jays.