Justin Verlander (15-7, 3.38) vs. Jeff Niemann (12-5, 3.80), 7:38 p.m. EST
After splitting a four-game series last weekend at Comerica Park, the Tigers and Rays get together for a rematch in Tampa. Since Monday, Detroit swept the Indians at home, while the Rays lost two of three to the Red Sox at Tropicana Field. Tonight's starting pitchers meet again after opposing each other last Sunday.
Jeff Niemann was robbed of a win in Detroit, giving up just three runs in seven innings. He couldn't get through the eighth, however, and the Tigers rallied against Grant Balfour, thanks to an improbable three-run homer from Placido Polanco. At home this season, Niemann has a 5-2 record and 2.67 ERA in eight starts.
While Niemann was deprived of a victory, Justin Verlander was rewarded for persevering through eight innings. It's not like he didn't deserve the win, however (which tied him for the American League lead in that category). Verlander really only made two bad pitches, and both were smacked out of the ballpark. The win extended Verlander's record versus the Rays to 3-0 with a 4.20 ERA. He's 7-5 with a 4.39 ERA on the road this season.