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Game 59 Preview: Tigers at Reds

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June 3, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo (61) pitches against the Houston Astros during the first inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-US PRESSWIRE
June 3, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo (61) pitches against the Houston Astros during the first inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-US PRESSWIRE

Detroit Tigers at Cincinnati Reds

Time/Place: 4:00 p.m., Great American Ball Park

SB Nation Blog: Red Reporter

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

Pitching Matchup: Justin Verlander (5-4, 2.67 ERA) vs. Bronson Arroyo (2-4, 3.91 ERA)

Arroyo has gotten the Doug Fister treatment from his offense on numerous occasions this season. In his four losses, the Reds have scored a combined 5 runs. He hasn't been perfect -- he's given up 3, 4, 4, and 5 runs, respectively -- but he's given his team a chance to win the game more often than not. His last start was a loss to the Houston Astros in which he gave up 5 runs, his highest total of the season.

Arroyo is striking out 6.39 batters per 9 innings, his best rate since the 2008 season. He's also walking fewer batters and giving up fewer home runs. So what has been the issue? Nothing, really. His line drive rate is 22.6%, also the highest it has been since 2008, but he's not getting smacked around the yard. Both his FIP and xFIP are in line with his ERA.

Justin Verlander is already worth 2.7 WAR this season. This trails only Zack Greinke, and is first in the American League for pitchers. While doomsday theorists think that Verlander might be hurt, I think we'll see a return to form today. JV is 16-2 lifetime in interleague play. He has a 2.75 ERA, 148 strikeouts in 140+ innings, and, as we all know, one no-hitter.

Verlander Taco Bell Watch

The closest T-Bell from Great American Ball Park is about a mile away... across the Ohio River in Covington, Kentucky. If he wanted to stay in Ohio (though I'm not sure why he would), there's one 1.5 miles away.

Outlook

Last night's game was painful, to say the least. Between injuries, availability, and general ineffectiveness, the bullpen was in shambles and it showed. Hopefully Verlander can eliminate the need for them today. I won't say that the offense is picking up for sure, but they have scored 18 runs in their last 3 games.

Prediction

A no-hitter for Verlander... at the plate, that is.

Gameday Reading:

Whose roster spot Austin Jackson takes could hinge on availability of Octavio Dotel - MLive, Chris Iott
Jackson is available to join the team today, but there is no word yet on who he will replace.

Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle! Reds win in extras, 6-5 - Red Reporter
"In fact, everyone in the lineup who had a PA tonight got a hit...except Valdez, but we know what he did."

Cincinnati Reds Make Tigers Bleed Their Own Blood - Walkoff Woodward, Josh Worn
"I don’t really care what philosophy you live by, bringing a kid in to make his major league debut and asking him to strike a major league hitter out immediately is a sizeable request. There’s no way that can be the right move."