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Game 87: Indians at Tigers

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Tomo Ohka (0-2, 5.65) vs. Justin Verlander (9-4, 3.59), 1:05 p.m. EST

The Tigers have split two games with the Indians this weekend. Can they win the rubber match and take a series win into the All-Star break?

Before Justin Verlander's last start, we said that the Tigers should absolutely win when Verlander starts against Bruce Chen. And they did, though the game didn't go as you might have expected. We repeat that stance today. The Detroit Tigers should win a game in which Verlander faces Tomo Ohka.

Ohka is starting for Cleveland in place of Jeremy Sowers, who was sent down to the minors. (And that's really too bad for the Tigers, because they hit Sowers quite well.) His last start for the Tribe was on June 27, and in that game, Ohka gave up six runs, eight hits, and four walks to the Cincinnati Reds in just four innings of work. His only outing since then was a 1.2 inning relief appearance five days ago (in which he gave up no runs, hits, or walks).

Verlander struck out 11 Kansas City Royals in his last start, and two of the runs he allowed were attributable to errors. But after throwing 55 pitches in the first two innings, he settled into a groove and stayed in for another four innings. The Indians have given Verlander problems over his career (6-10, 5.74 ERA), but this season, he's won both of his starts against the Tribe, compiling a 0.59 ERA.

As Billfer points out, you can also get a glimpse of Tigers prospect (and next year's second baseman?) Scott Sizemore, as he'll be playing in the All-Star Futures Game today. The telecast begins at 2 p.m. on ESPN2. You can also follow the game via MLB.com and Twitter.