Justin Verlander (16-9, 3.44) vs. Carlos Carrasco (0-2, 9.64), 7:05 p.m. EST
The Tigers have a series win in hand, but have a chance to get one more game tonight. (I'm always hesistant to use the "s" word, which rhymes with "weep," for fear of a jinx.) With the Twins off tonight, Detroit could add a half-game to their lead in the AL Central.
Carlos Carrasco's major league debut was a memorable one... for the Tigers. Starting his first game in the bigs at Comerica Park, Detroit lit him up for six runs and nine hits (three of them home runs) in just three innings. Carrasco didn't help matters with poor control, throwing three walks. In two starts since then, he's allowed nine runs and 16 hits (three homers) in 11 innings. But maybe he's a much different pitcher on Thursdays.
The boxscore says that Justin Verlander was roughed up by the Twins in his last start. But anyone who watched that game last Saturday knows that he was pitching extremely well until the Metrodome roof played tricks with Don Kelly's eyesight on a fly ball by Orlando Cabrera. He was also probably left in for one batter too long by Jim Leyland, which is kind of a shame.
So the numbers say that Verlander has given up 10 runs and 19 hits over his last two starts, while also carrying a three-game winless streak. Might he end up looking better tonight? Against the Indians this season, Verlander is 3-0 with an 0.39 ERA. His career record versus the Tribe now stands at 7-10 with a 5.37 ERA.