Brad Penny was daytime Bad, and surrounded by a bit of clown show defense, but the Tigers made an improbably comeback from a 7-run deficit to put the White Sox on the verge of a sweep, and an 8 1/2 game Central hill to climb.
Max Scherzer (13-8, 4.52) climbs the mound for the Tigers, auditioning for the Since-We-Can’t-Pitch-Justin-Every-Game role for the playoff rotation.
And speaking of Justin, after a rough outing by Jared Weaver he is now the pitching Triple Crown leader (thanks Kevin). Verlander has 21 wins (2nd: Sabathia 19), a 2.34 ERA (Weaver 2nd at 2.49), and 224 strikeouts (Sabathia 2nd with 211).
Mark Buehrle will be taking the mound for Chicago, and looking for a solution to the Austin Jackson problem.
Over the last week Jackson has been red-hot, hitting at a .552 pace (1.586 OPS), with more extra-base hits than strikeouts, and 2 stolen bases. For most of the season Jackson has been a weak spot in the Tiger lineup, leaving the Tigers 12th of 14 teams in hitting with the leadoff spot in the lineup, and 11th in OBP leading off games with a tepid .266 On Base Percentage. If Jackson can go into the last month of the season at even league average or above the Tiger lineup suddenly looks a lot more potent.
In case we get Bad Max on the mound today, it may be useful that the Tigers have recalled Al Alburquerque from his rehab assignment and activated him from the DL.
Player of the Pre-Game: Austin Jackson (see above).
Today’s Bring-Out-The-Broom Lineup: