Justin Verlander (8-3, 3.31) vs. Wandy Rodriguez (6-6, 3.18), 8:05 p.m. EST
Following an undefeated homestand against the Brewers and Cubs, the Tigers travel to Houston to take on one more NL Central team and complete this season's slate of Interleague Play. And in the process, they'll also get to see an old friend in the opposing lineup.
Pitching for the Astros, Wandy Rodriguez comes off what was probably his best start of the season. In seven innings at the Metrodome, he held the Twins to one run and two hits, adding eight strikeouts. That broke a personal five-game winless streak. At home this year, Rodriguez has a 3-2 record and 2.15 ERA in seven starts. He faced the Tigers in 2006 at Comerica Park, giving up seven runs and 10 hits in 6.2 innings.
Jim Leyland decided to break up Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson in Detroit's starting rotation, in order to keep the Tigers' bullpen fresher for the other three starters' turns. So tonight, Verlander switches places with Alfredo Figaro, who will start tomorrow.
Verlander gave up two home runs to Milwaukee in his previous outing, but kept the damage to a minimum and ended up outpitching Yovani Gallardo in a battle of aces. He also compiled eight strikeouts in his 7.2 innings. Verlander has won eight of his last 11 starts. In his one appearance against the Astros during that same 2006 series in Detroit, he shut Houston out over eight innings, allowing just three hits.
With no DH in the National League park, Marcus Thames will be in left field tonight. And with the pitcher in the lineup, Magglio Ordonez moves up to the sixth spot in the batting order.
Crawfish Boxes has your SB Nation opposing view for this weekend's series.