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Game 31 Preview: Tigers at Athletics

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May 5, 2012; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Bartolo Colon (21) throws a pitch in the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
May 5, 2012; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Bartolo Colon (21) throws a pitch in the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Detroit Tigers (15-15) at Oakland Athletics (16-15)

Time/Place: 10:00 p.m., Oakland Coliseum

SB Nation Blog: Athletics Nation

Media: Fox Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network

Pitching Matchup: Max Scherzer (1-3, 6.32 ERA) vs. Bartolo Colon (3-2, 2.83 ERA)

Colon has already accumulated 0.9 WAR this season, putting him on pace for the same type of numbers he had in the early 2000s with the Cleveland Indians. His 1.8 WAR last season with the New York Yankees -- a decent number for someone his age -- is paling in comparison.

Colon has given up at least seven hits in each of his last three starts, but hasn't given up more than three runs in any of them. He had a stretch of four straight quality starts snapped by the Tampa Bay Rays in his last start, giving up three runs in five innings. Based on what I've seen from him so far this year, there's no reason to think that he would all of a sudden implode. Runs could once again be at a premium tonight.

Scherzer pitched well in his last start, but I'm beginning to wonder if this is a product of facing the Chicago White Sox; he has 20 strikeouts in two starts against them this season. If Jeff Jones' adjustments are legitimate, we should see another strong effort from Max tonight against an A's lineup that struggles to score at times.

Outlook

The Tigers haven't won consecutive games in nearly a month, but this series may provide then a solid chance to reverse their fortunes. Aside from Colon, none of the A's starters have been particularly impressive this season. The A's will also likely be without their best hitter for most of the series; Yoenis Cespedes missed yesterday's game with a strained left hand. The Tigers' bats will wake up at some point, but the wait is definitely maddening. Hopefully the nice weather projected to hit the Bay Area this weekend will help the cause.

Prediction

More of the same from Colon, who is having a resurgence in his late thirties.

Gameday Reading:

Yoenis Cespedes day-to-day with strained left hand - HardballTalk, Drew Silva
"According to Jane Lee of MLB.com, the 26-year-old Cuban has been diagnosed with a strained muscle in the back of his left hand."