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Game 47 Preview: Tigers at Twins

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May 16, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Rick Porcello (48) pitches in the fourth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE
May 16, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Rick Porcello (48) pitches in the fourth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE

Detroit Tigers (22-24) at Minnesota Twins (15-31)

Time/Place: 2:00 p.m., Target Field

SB Nation Blog: Twinkie Town

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

Pitching Matchup: Rick Porcello (3-4, 5.29 ERA) vs. P.J. Walters (2-1, 2.95 ERA)

"So Rob, what has Walters done since we saw him last?" you may be asking. Well, the news isn't pretty (for Tigers fans, that is). Walters threw the Twins' first complete game of the season last time out, mowing through the Chicago White Sox' lineup in 110 pitches. He gave up two runs on five hits and struck out eight hitters. He has gone at least 6 innings in each of his three starts this year.

In his start against the Tigers, Walters gave up four hits in 6 1/3 innings. You may remember that three of those hits left the yard off of lefty bats. I doubt we'll see as many today with that monstrosity of a wall in right field, but the potential to rough up a third consecutive Twins' starter is there. While Walters has had success in his first three starts, there's a reason that he was behind the likes of Jason Marquis and Francisco Liriano on the Twins' depth chart at the start of the season.

I had something cool written about Porcello earlier this weekend, but then I realized that Drew Smyly was starting on Friday night. Instead of copying and pasting that paragraph over to this thread, I deleted it like an idiot. Anyway, the key for Porcello is keeping the ball on the ground. When he yields more ground balls than fly balls he is 3-1, with the one loss being that-start-that-shall-not-be-named against the Texas Rangers. When he allows more fly balls? 0-3. If Porcello can locate his two-seam fastball like he did in April, the Tigers should be in good shape.

No, Quintin Berry cannot play second base

So please stop suggesting it.

Please don't pitch to Joe Mauer

Pretty please?

Outlook

With a four game series in Boston looming, this game is more important than you might think. The Tigers have the potential to essentially erase the futility of the Cleveland series with a win today. Honestly, I don't care how ugly it is; I don't care how it gets done; I don't care if it involves the entire bullpen with dyed goatees or Justin Verlander coming in out of relief... OK, well maybe not that. Just win and get the sweep. And don't pitch to Joe Mauer.

Prediction

It officially becomes a streak today.

Gameday Reading:

Pavano Sputters Again, Twins Lose 6-3 - Twinkie Town
"Twins hitters struck out 16 times today against Detroit Tiger pitching. 16 times? 16 times."

P.J. Walters pitches Minnesota Twins' first complete game - Pioneer Press, Ben Goessling
"For better or worse, the Twins' season now rests in the hands of pitchers who were expected to start more games at Triple-A Rochester than in the major leagues, and there's little they can do at this point besides ride it out. On Tuesday night, though, nobody was complaining about the ride."

Mount Offense Remains Active For Second Straight Day and Quintin Berry Sparks a Twitter Firestorm - Walkoff Woodward, Josh Worn
"Today was the second straight day that the Tigers bats were the reason that they won a game. Maybe it was the fact that the Twins pitching was so bad, maybe it’s because the offense finally hit their stride. Whatever it was, the Tigers scored 16 runs in less than 24 hours and have two wins to show for it."