The Tigers are still neck-and-neck with Texas for the 2nd-best AL record, and tonight send out their presumed playoff #4 guy Rick Porcello to try to cool down the hot Baltimore Orioles.
Not-so-hot is today’s Orioles starter Alfredo Simon (4-9, 4.96), who is 0-2 with a 7.71 ERA for the month of September.
Hidden in last night’s loss was a gem of encouragement: Al Alburquerque returned, and promptly struck out 2 of 3 batters he faced. A healthy Alburquerque has the potential to make a huge difference in the playoffs. Leyland said he will rest today, then pitch one inning each on Saturday and Sunday.
As far as that clarified playoff rotation goes (Verlander Game 1 and 5, Fister Game 2), Jason Beck tweets that Verlander went into Leyland’s office today and said, hey, I can pitch game 4, and got a thanks-but-no-thanks.
Player of the Pre-Game: Don Kelly
This really should be Raburn again. Raburn’s September numbers are now up to .412 BA, 1.224 OPS. Really. But he isn’t in the lineup. So we’ll go with the Donkey, who is hitting .324 in September and has had 2 home runs in his last 4 starts.
Today’s Raising-Bail-For-Denny-McLain Lineup: