Detroit Tigers (93-68) at Miami Marlins (61-100)
Time/Place: 1:10 p.m., Marlins Park
SB Nation blog: Fish Stripes
Pitching Matchup: RHP Justin Verlander (13-12, 3.56 ERA) vs. RHP Henderson Alvarez (4-6, 3.94 ERA)
Henderson Alvarez was acquired by the Marlins this offseason in the trade that sent Jose Reyes and company to the Toronto Blue Jays*. Alvarez spent the first few months of the reason rehabbing a shoulder injury before making his debut on July 4th. He hasn't had the success that fellow 23 year old starter Nathan Eovaldi had in 2013, but he also hasn't had the same lows. Alvarez has not allowed more than five runs in a start, and he has gone at least five innings in all but two of his outings -- and one of those was due to a minor thigh injury.
Alvarez made one start against the Tigers in 2012, allowing just one run on five hits in seven innings in a 5-1 Blue Jays victory. Brennan Boesch and Delmon Young had three of the five Tigers' hits and combined for the lone run, because baseball is a funny game sometimes. Of course, it's not very likely that any of the other players that faced Alvarez in that game will see much time this afternoon. Also, this game is entirely meaningless, so Alvarez can dominate the Tigers' lineup all he wants.
*The Blue Jays have only won 13 more baseball games than the Marlins this season. I'm not saying it was right, but maybe the Marlins knew what they were doing when that deal went down. Sure, Jose Reyes was good when healthy, but Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, and Emilio Bonifacio absolutely bombed.
While I don't care how the offense looks in this game, I do care about Justin Verlander's effectiveness. He has seemingly returned to form in September, logging a 2.67 ERA, 2.36 FIP, and 28.2% strikeout rate in five starts this month. His last outing was arguably his most impressive start of the second half. He struck out 12 Twins hitters in six scoreless innings, but probably could have gone another inning with just 107 pitches thrown. He should be able to keep the Marlins largely in check this afternoon, especially if he's able to locate his fastball.
Question of the game
If Justin Verlander has a no-hitter after five or so innings, does Jim Leyland still take him out?
Once again, thank you, BYB
For those that missed yesterday's preview, I want to thank all of you for reading and commenting on these posts -- as well as all of our other pieces -- throughout the season. I love writing these, and I hope you have enjoyed reading them. As always, please let me know in the comments if there are any areas on which I can improve, features to add, etc. for the playoffs and/or next season.
Just don't get injured, Tigers.
This will be the Marlins' last baseball game of the season.