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Game 98 Preview: Tigers at Indians

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CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 4: Starting pitcher Derek Lowe #26 of the Cleveland Indians during the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Progressive Field on July 4, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 4: Starting pitcher Derek Lowe #26 of the Cleveland Indians during the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Progressive Field on July 4, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Detroit Tigers (52-45) at Cleveland Indians (49-48)

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

SB Nation Blog: Let's Go Tribe

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

Pitching Matchup: RHP Max Scherzer (9-5, 4.61 ERA) vs. RHP Derek Lowe (8-8, 5.04 ERA)

Unlike Ubaldo Jimenez, Lowe doesn't seem to have a mystical voodoo hold over the Tigers this season despite sucking up a storm the rest of the time he's on the field. Lowe had a 3.06 ERA before he took the mound against the Tigers on June 7th. After 5 rough innings, that number was up to 3.72, and it has only increased since. He has given up at least 3 runs in every outing since this point, and has allowed at least 7 runs on five separate occasions in the past two months. The Baltimore Orioles took him behind the woodshed in his last start, scoring 9 runs on 7 hits and 5 walks in just 3 innings. More impressive was the fact that he allowed 8 of those runs in less time than it took me to eat a cheeseburger. True story.

Scherzer has continued his mysterious home/road Jekyll and Hyde act into the month of July. In his two starts at Comerica, he has 16 strikeouts to 5 walks and has given up 2 earned runs. His lone road start saw him strike out 4 hitters while walking two and allowing 4 runs in the process. Still, other than Scherzer's last road start, he has been churning out solid outings away from Comerica Park despite a much smaller K/BB ratio on the road.

Outlook

I'm not really sure what happened last night, other than the typical oddities that seem to happen every time the Tigers are in Cleveland nowadays. Seriously, this place is the new Metrodome. Anyway, Lowe hasn't been able to hit the strike zone to save his life lately, walking 9 hitters in his past two starts. Staying patient might be a good idea to start, but if he suddenly regains his command the Tigers will need to bring a more aggressive approach as the game moves along.

Prediction

Lowe inexplicably stymies the Tigers for 5 innings before allowing a few runs, while Scherzer pitches well enough to pick up his 10th win of the season.