Time/Place: 7:08 p.m., Comerica Park
SB Nation blog: Let's go Tribe
Pitching Matchup: LHP Scott Kazmir (7-6, 4.25 ERA) vs. RHP Anibal Sanchez (11-7, 2.61 ERA)
Two pitchers who are keys to the success of their teams in the current season will face off on Saturday. Anibal Sanchez was the first of four Tiger ACEs to falter in the series against the Oakland A's, yet he still leads the American League in ERA and Fielding Independent Pitching among those qualified for the ERA title. Sanchez trails only Max Scherzer and Felix Hernandez in pitcher WAR, despite having four or five fewer starts due to time on the disabled list earlier in the season. His last outing is an outlier in terms of effectiveness this season. His five walks was a season high and four earned runs in five innings is not his standard fare. He's the first of the Tigers ACEs to have a chance to bounce back.
Scott Kazmir has been a pleasant surprise for the Tribe this season, and a key part of the reason that they've hung around in the playoff race. Cleveland took a chance on the lefty who had been given up for dead. The lefty has regained his strikeout prowess with a ratio of 8.26 K/9 while cutting his dismal BB/9 rate to a career best 2.95. However, he has allowed at least four earned runs in six of his 16 starts, and Cleveland will need him to show greater consistency, starting now, if they're to have any chance of playing in October.
All eyes are also on Miguel Cabrera, who left Friday's game with an abdomen injury and is listed as day to day. It's not possible to overstate how important Cabrera is to the human race.
Sanchez rebounds, and the Tigers plate enough runs to open an 8-1/2 game lead, pushing the Indians to the verge of extinction.
FWIW- There is nothing in my entire house that is shaped like Scott Kazmir.