Detroit Tigers: 47-38, 1st Place (2.5 ahead of Cleveland).
Yes, it’s that time of the season, that 4th of July lull where DTW game threads only draw a couple of comments and places like ESPN resort to discussing topics such as the All-Star game snubs before the teams are actually named. Snub predictions, I guess.
Anyway, despite the lulliness of the week the Tigers are in gear to put some space in between themselves and Cleveland before the break, after a 7-0 series opener. That makes it 6 games in a row now that the Tigers have taken from the Indians, which should give Indians fans serious pause when considering their playoff contention hopes, as should the Cleveland record of 18-29 vs. teams with a winning record.
For the Tigers, aside from gaining a game in the standings, the win over the Indians was encouraging because of how well Rick Porcello pitched. Jason Beck notes that Rick Porcello has started doing something that Max Scherzer has been doing all season–increasing his use of the curve, especially against left-handed hitters. In fact, Porcello got 5 outs against lefties in the first 4 innings of last night’s game with the curveball. Can we get a +1 for the coaching staff?
Tonight’s game features the much-anticipated return of Anibal Sanchez to the starting lineup. Anibal will be on a limited pitch-count, so the bullpen should get plenty of work.
Today’s Player of the Pre-game: Victor Martinez. Martinez continues to hit his ex-teams well. Yesterday’s performance leaves him with a 2013 average of .382 against Cleveland (.954 OPS), and a career BA of .364 (.995). He also hits Boston well (.318, .920). Strangely, the one team Martinez never hit well was Detroit, only putting up .244/.722. I would expect that to change if he ever becomes an ex-Tiger, based on the above.
Today’s Hit the Ball for Anibal Lineup: