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Game 148: Tigers at Twins

Justin Verlander (16-8 3.34) vs. Carl Pavano (12-11 4.91), 4:10 p.m. EST

The Twins struck first in this weekend's series with last night's 3-0 win over the Tigers, cutting Detroit's lead in the AL Central to three games. Will the Tigers' bats show up to the Metrodome to support their pitching ace?

Justin Verlander had one of those games in his last start. For five innings against the Blue Jays, he was dominant, allowing just two hits with six strikeouts. But something turned in that sixth inning. Suddenly, Toronto was hitting everything that left Verlander's hand. And two of those balls left the park. Once the smoke cleared, the Blue Jays had five runs. So was that just some bad stuff that Verlander had to get out of his system? Did he let up at all? (That seems hard to believe, considering the Tigers only had a 2-0 lead.)

Verlander had a rough night the last time he faced the Twins. He gave up five runs and seven hits in six innings, leading to an eventual 11-0 loss for the Tigers. When last he pitched at the Metrodome, Verlander racked up 13 strikeouts and left the game with a 5-0 lead. But Detroit's bullpen had a total meltdown in the seventh inning, resulting in one of the Tigers' worst losses of the season.

Somehow, Carl Pavano turns into Cy Pavano when pitching against the Tigers this season. He's won all four of his starts versus Detroit, allowing just five runs in 30.1 innings (for a 1.48 ERA). Pavano was the winning pitcher in that 11-0 game back in early August, making his first start for the Minnesota Twins after coming over from the Cleveland Indians. But maybe - just maybe - the Tigers can break through against Pavano at the Metrodome. He hasn't won there yet, going 0-2 in three starts with a 4.74 ERA.

Today's game is on FOX (with "our" own Rod Allen joining Dick Bremer on the call), but goes out to only 19% of the country. So unless you're in Detroit or Minneapolis, or one of the area involved in the AL Wild Card race (Boston, Dallas, etc.), you're probably getting either Cubs-Cardinals or Giants-Dodgers. But if you want a specific breakdown of which city gets which game, the FOX Sports website has each market listed.

(via Awful Announcing)