Detroit Tigers (28-32) at Chicago Cubs (20-40)
Time/Place: 8:00 p.m., Wrigley Field
SB Nation Blog: Bleed Cubbie Blue
Pitching Matchup: Max Scherzer (5-4, 5.88 ERA) vs. Paul Maholm (4-5, 5.10 ERA)
Before getting into any stats about Maholm's season, know this: throughout the offseason, his name was thrown around as a possible 5th starter candidate for the Tigers. The general consensus is that he would have been a marginal upgrade over Brad Penny. I'll let you fill in the blanks from there.
Maholm has been pretty consistent in 2012, giving up 4-5 runs in anywhere from 4-6 innings in just about every start he's had. He hasn't won a game since May 9th and his ERA is 6.41 in the 5 starts he's had since then. His home run rate is higher than usual, but this is largely due to a 3-homer outburst by the Chicago White Sox during their hotter-than-Hades stretch a few weeks ago. Still, 6 of the 9 home runs that Maholm has given up this season have been at Wrigley Field, a more hitter-friendly environment than his old stomping grounds in Pittsburgh.
Up until Scherzer's last start, the Tigers had won 5 straight games that he had started. While he was a strikeout machine during this stretch, his ERA was still a pedestrian 4.71. Why the success? In Scherzer's last six starts (including the loss to the Cleveland Indians last week), the Tigers have scored 43 runs. Now if only we could figure out a way to brainwash them into thinking that Scherzer pitches everyday, we'd be in business.
There are no "must win" games in June, but it would be seriously disappointing to come away from Chicago without at least two victories. Add in the fact that this pitching matchup -- Scherzer's glaring flaws nonwithstanding -- is about as one-sided as it gets on paper, and the last time we got a pitching matchup this juicy, it blew up in our faces, and you begin to realize why I'm not 100% sold on tonight's game being the return to glory that some are expecting
Oh, who am I kidding? It's the Cubs we're talking about here.
He gives up a few walks, but Scherzer mows down an overmatched Cubs lineup for 6 strong innings.
Know Thy Enemy: 2012 Chicago Cubs - DesigNate Robertson
"The Tigers NEED to win two of three against the hapless Cubbies, and a sweep would be even better."
Cubs Weekly Recap: June 4 Through June 10 - Bleed Cubbie Blue
Alfonso Soriano would get hot right as the Tigers are heading into town.