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Game 77 Preview: Tigers at Rays

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WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 19:  David Price #14 of the Tampa Bay Rays throws a pitch against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on June 19, 2012 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 19: David Price #14 of the Tampa Bay Rays throws a pitch against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on June 19, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
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Detroit Tigers at Tampa Bay Rays

Time/Place: 7:00 p.m., Tropicana Field

SB Nation Blog: DRaysBay

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

Pitching Matchup: Justin Verlander (8-4, 2.52 ERA) vs. David Price (10-4, 2.95 ERA)

Price has been a model of consistency for the Rays over the past 2+ seasons, posting FIPs of 3.42, 3.32, and 3.42 from 2010-2012, respectively. His 2012 record and ERA more closely matches his 2010 season, where he went 19-6 with a 2.72 ERA. Against the Tigers, Price is 3-1 with a 2.15 ERA throughout his career. Recently, Price has struggled. He gave up one run in 7 innings against the Philadelphia Phillies in his last start, but previously allowed 11 runs in his past 12 innings against the New York Mets and Washington Nationals.

Ho hum, just another dominant interleague series for Justin Verlander. JV was 4-0 with a 1.62 ERA against the National League this season. He threw 2 complete games and pitched 39 of a possible 45 innings in his 5 starts. He has put up decent (for him) numbers against the Rays throughout his career, amassing a 6-2 record and 3.68 ERA against Tampa in his 7+ seasons. Oh, and his Taco Bell pregame meal will have to come at least 1.8 miles away from Tropicana Field. Such tragedy.

Outlook

No offense to Jon Lester or Lance Lynn, but this might be the best pitching matchup we've seen for the Tigers in 2012. Both Verlander and Price have the ability to completely shut down the opposing lineup. Verlander would also love to shut down the same Rays lineup that tagged him for 4 runs in the 9th inning on April 11th. Price didn't face the Tigers during that April series, but was dominant against the Tigers last August. I would love to see a repeat of that game though, because the Tigers won 2-1.

Prediction

First team to score wins.

Gameday Reading:

Tigers @ Rays Series Preview - Walkoff Woodward, Cameron Scott
"The last time the Tigers played the Rays, they exited the series with a 5-1 record after winning 2 out of 3. It was a different season, literally, with snowy weather and freezing rain and wind."

Series Preview Vs. The Detroit Tigers - DRaysBay, Jason Collette & Paul Sporer
Max Scherzer is inconsistent, Rick Porcello needs better defense, and we're slow. Not much we don't know.