Game 2013.31: Nationals at Tigers

19-11, 1st place, 1.5 games up.

Well, this has been a fun stretch. Your Tigers have now won 9 out of 10 games, outscoring their opponents 74-25 (that’s a pythagorean winning % of 89%, or about 143 – 19). Now, the last 7 games were played against the Astros and Twins, so let’s no be disappointed if they don’t score 5 in the first every game here on out. But the Tigers did what good teams are supposed to do against bad ones.

Though it’s only a two game set, this series against the Nationals will be closely watched around the bigs, as both the Tigers and Nationals were heavy pre-season World Series favorites. No Strasburger v. Verlander matchup, but tonight’s duel could be equally as exciting.

Sanchez has been phenomenal out of the gates this year, posting a 1.06 WHIP and 50 Ks in 39 2/3. That’s right, 50! Even more exciting is the fact that Sanchez has never lost to Washington. That’s not a fluke – in 19 career starts he’s 8-0 with a 1.97 ERA against Washington. Hates to face: Desmond (8-25) and Ramos (5-13). Loves to face Benadina (2-20), Laroche (6-30) and Werth (5-30, but he’s out tonight).

Sanchez will be opposed by hard-throwing right Jordan Zimmermann. Zimmermann has a good fastball that can touch 96-97, and great control. In four of his 6 starts this year he’s walked 1 or less, going at least 7 in each of those games. Zimmerman has been strong this year, posting a 5-1 record with a .75 WHIP and 1.64 ERA. He does have 1 HR hitting this year. Only 3 tigers have seen Zimmermann – and only Infante (3-14) has more than 3 AB.

The Nationals are 0-6 all-time v. the Tigers, the only team they are winless against.

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A few notes:

– Type in “Whitaker” (or something similar) here: http://scouts.baseballhall.org/. Have fun.

– The Tigers staff is currently posting a K/9 of 9.91. That’s a full K higher than the modern record of 8.68/9 established by Mil last year.

– Josh Hamilton is arguably the worst hitter in baseball right now. TSE – care to comment on how wise that $125M was spent by LAA?

– Rick Ankiel is available.

– Good article on ESPN on why today is the golden age of leadoff hitters.

– Ryan Raburn beat out the following players for player of the week: Cabrera, Fielder, Scherzer, Verlander.

– Sparky’s wife, Carol, passed last night. May she rest in peace and thank you for Sparky & Co.

Remember – NL park so VMart on the bench and 1 free out ever 8 batters.

Today’s lineup:

1. Jackson, CF
2. Hunter, RF
3. Cabrera, 3B
4. Fielder, DH
5. Dirks, LF
6. Peralta, SS
7. Avila, C
8. Infante, 2B
9. Sanchez, P