Oakland Athletics (84-63) at Detroit Tigers (78-69)
Time/Place: 7:00 p.m., Comerica Park
SB Nation Blog: Athletics Nation
Pitching Matchup: LHP Brett Anderson (4-1, 1.93 ERA) vs. RHP Justin Verlander (14-8, 2.82 ERA)
While A.J. Griffin was largely unheralded prior to his breakout 2012 season, Anderson has been highly touted from the day he was drafted. He was ranked on many top-50 lists in both 2008 and 2009 before bursting onto the scene in '09 with an 11-11 record and 4.06 ERA. Oh, and he was only 21 years old at the time. Now 24, Anderson is 25-24 with a 3.52 ERA in 400 big league innings over the past four years.
Anderson underwent Tommy John surgery in June of 2011 and didn't make his 2012 debut until August 21st. He allowed just two runs in his first 26 innings before allowing five runs in 6 2/3 innings against the Los Angeles Angels in his last start. His stuff isn't overpowering -- his fastball sits in the low 90s and his off-speed stuff tops out in the mid 80s -- but he pounds the strike zone and doesn't walk many hitters.
Meanwhile, the other starting pitcher in tonight's game needs no introduction. Verlander was dominant on Friday against the Cleveland Indians, scattering six hits over seven shutout innings in a much-needed 4-0 win over the Tribe. An effort like that would have been nice to have against the Chicago White Sox last Thursday but, as we have seen many times now, Mother Nature wanted no part of JV.
I'm not even going to go into playoff scenarios and whatnot tonight. Just enjoy watching Verlander pitch. He is truly a once-in-a-generation talent, one that we as Tigers fans often take for granted. If the White Sox lose, cool. If not, at least enjoy watching the MVP do what he does best.
Verlander makes a case for his second consecutive Cy Young award with a complete game performance.