Detroit Tigers (75-67) at Cleveland Indians (60-84)
Time/Place: 7:00 p.m., Progressive Field
SB Nation Blog: Let's Go Tribe
Pitching Matchup: RHP Justin Verlander (13-8, 2.91 ERA) vs. RHP Corey Kluber (1-3, 5.26 ERA)
You probably saw Kluber's name and wondered "Hey Rob, isn't that the no-name guy that beat the Tigers directly after our last series with the White Sox?" to which I would say "Why, yes it is." Kluber notched his first career win at Comerica Park on September 3rd, knocking the Tigers out of first place with a solid outing. His next start didn't go so hot, allowing five runs (four earned) in 3 2/3 innings against the Minnesota Twins.
Well, so much for Verlander dominating the White Sox for a third time this season. Instead, JV will face an Indians lineup that has dealt him two losses this year in a ballpark that he has struggled in throughout his career. Verlander is 6-10 with a 5.74 ERA at Progressive Field. Given his recent struggles an extra day of rest might be a blessing in disguise for Verlander, even if the venue isn't. Keep in mind that Verlander dominated the Indians for 8 innings in one of his starts in Cleveland this season, but was doomed by a lack of run support.
I'm not going to tiptoe around it this time: this is a trap game and I don't like the matchup. Even the almighty Justin Verlander is not immune to whatever disease that turns the Tigers into a Triple-A squad in Cleveland and Kluber pitched well against the Tigers last time out. The Tigers will need to continue whatever it is that they started to do in Chicago and put some runs up on the board to keep pace with (and hopefully catch) the White Sox.
Verlander notches a quality start but is once again let down by a lack of run support.