Cliff Lee (18-2, 2.43) vs. Chris Lambert (0-0, -.--)
Just a 1/2 game now separates the Tigers and Indians as the AL Central, with the likely AL Cy Young Award winner taking the mound for the road team, and the home team countering with a rookie making his first major league start.
Cliff Lee has allowed more than two runs only twice in his last 10 starts, but one of those games was against Detroit, who ran up six runs and 10 hits against him in five innings a month ago at Progressive Field. That accounts for the 7.20 ERA Lee has versus the Tigers in two starts this season. In 16 career starts facing Detroit, Lee is 4-6 with a 5.46 ERA.
Chris Lambert joins the Tigers from Triple-A Toledo to take Nate Robertson's turn in the starting rotation. (Francis Beltran was designated for assignment to make room for Lambert and has 10 days to decide whether or not to go to the minors.) Just about a year ago, the St. Louis Cardinals made him the player to be named later in exchange for Mike Maroth. In 26 starts this season with the Mud Hens (including three complete games), Lambert was 12-8 with a 3.50 ERA.
UPDATE: After leaving last night's game early because of back spasms, Carlos Guillen is out of the lineup tonight. Ryan Raburn gets the start at third base in his place.