Detroit Tigers (77-67) at Cleveland Indians (60-86)
Time/Place: 3:00 p.m., Progressive Field
SB Nation Blog: Let's Go Tribe
Pitching Matchup: RHP Rick Porcello (9-12, 4.59 ERA) vs. RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (9-16, 5.52 ERA)
Today, Jimenez joins Jake Peavy on the list of pitchers that I've previewed way too many times this season. This will be his sixth start against the Tigers in 2012. In his first five starts, Jimenez is 2-2 with a 4.02 ERA. He allowed 4 earned runs in a combined 18 2/3 innings in his first three starts, but has given up 10 runs in his last 12 2/3 innings against the Tigers.
Jimenez has struggled in general over the past couple months. Since the All-Star Break, he is 1-9 (!) with a 7.13 (!!) ERA and is allowing an OPS of .907 (!!!) to opposing hitters. By comparison, Robinson Cano's OPS this season is .909, and there are only 10 hitters in baseball with an OPS higher than that. So to say that Jimenez has been "bad" would be a bit of an understatement.
Porcello's last couple of outings haven't been spectacular, but the fact that he has lost his last six starts has much more to do with the offense than his own performance. He hasn't allowed more than three earned runs in a start since an August 12th outing in Texas when he allowed six runs (four earned) in 6 innings of work. Meanwhile, the offense has scored a whopping 10 runs during this stretch.
With the Twins offering little to no resistance to the Chicago White Sox so far this weekend, it's important that the Tigers win today's game to keep pace with Chicago before tomorrow's make-up matinee. If the Tigers go into tomorrow at two games back in the division and then lose, there would be some serious scoreboard watching to be had over the next couple weeks. The early offense we've seen so far this series is nice, but it would be even nicer to see the offense keep the pedal down for a full 9 innings.
Porcello snaps his losing streak with a solid outing and the Twins get beat by at least 8 runs.