(Sports Network) - Former AL MVP and 2011 Cy Young Award winner Justin
Verlander looks to pitch himself out of a current funk when the Detroit Tigers
and Washington Nationals conclude a two-game set at Comerica Park.
Verlander has lost two straight, three of four starts and four of his past six
decisions. He has allowed 17 runs over his previous four outings and was
hammered for seven runs and 11 hits in six innings of a 7-4 loss against the
Chicago White Sox on Thursday.
The hard-throwing right-hander, who is 10-8 in 22 starts with a 3.99 earned
run average, will face Washington for the second time in his career and won
the first encounter back on June 16, 2010, when he struck out 11 batters and
permitted three runs with no walks in eight innings of an 8-3 triumph.
In 10 starts at Comerica Park this season, Verlander is 4-4 with a 3.92 ERA.
Gio Gonzalez, meanwhile, has struck out a season-high 11 batters in each of
his last two starts and will get the nod for the Nationals Wednesday night.
Gonzalez has recorded back-to-back no-decisions since winning four straight
starts and hasn't lost since May 27 versus Baltimore. In a 9-7 win over
Pittsburgh on Thursday, Gonzalez allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings and his
record remained at 7-3 through 21 starts with a 2.97 ERA.
The left-hander, who is 3-1 in 10 starts outside of D.C. this season, will
make his sixth career start against the Tigers and is 1-3 with a 5.33 ERA over
the first five outings in this series.
Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg was roughed up in Tuesday's 5-1 loss
and he surrendered a grand slam to Alex Avila in the sixth inning with the
score tied at 1-1. Avila crushed a fastball around his knees to the seats in
right-center field for his first career slam, as the Tigers pushed their
winning streak to four games.
"I thought he pitched great. He just made that one bad pitch there," Nationals
manager Davey Johnson said of Strasburg.
Tigers starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez outdueled Strasburg and tossed seven
innings of one-run ball for the victory, Detroit's eighth in the last nine
tries. The Tigers are unbeaten (4-0) on their eight-game homestand.
Detroit third baseman Miguel Cabrera aggravated an abdominal injury that
sidelined him four games last week and was removed in the eighth inning. He
felt pain when charging a slow roller by Chad Tracy and was replaced by Ramon
Santiago. Cabrera is listed as day-to-day.
The Tigers made a move Tuesday and acquired shortstop Jose Iglesias from the
Boston Red Sox in exchange for right-handed pitcher Brayan Villarreal and
outfielder Avisail Garcia. The three-team deal was highlighted by Boston
landing starting pitcher and former NL Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy from
the Chicago White Sox.
Detroit hopes Iglesias can live up to his hype.
"This guy is special defensively," Tigers president, CEO and GM David
Dombrowski said on the club's website. "Our scouting reports have him as an
All-Star shortstop. I don't know if he'll be that or not, but some of our
scouting reports do. But somebody that has seen him play just sent me a note
that said, 'In all my years in the game, the only two defensive shortstops
that I've seen that are better are Ozzie (Smith) and (Omar) Vizquel."
Washington opened a five-game road trip on a sour note Tuesday and it was
Avila's slam that spoiled it.
"I pitched well minus one pitch," Strasburg said. "It's tough, it's baseball.
I tried to throw a fastball away and it came back over, and (Avila) put a good
swing on it."
Strasburg allowed five runs total in seven innings of work, struck out seven
and issued three walks in falling to 5-9.
Ryan Zimmerman drove in the lone run for the Nationals, who had won three in a
row and four of the last five games.
With the MLB trade deadline set to close Wednesday afternoon, Johnson doesn't
feel the club will make any major moves.
"I don't think we are going to do anything. We didn't do anything last year,"
Johnson noted on the team's website. "We have the players we want here. We
just need them to do what they are capable of doing. We're fine."
Washington won both meetings with Detroit back in early May after losing the
previous six matchups between the clubs.
The Sports Network