Now that the drama of this series against the Tigers has pretty much been dissipated, maybe the Tribe can make everyone feel a little better and get a win against Justin Verlander and the Tigers at 12:05 this afternoon.
With Detroit now owning an 8.5 game lead over the Indians, and with the Indians having only 23 games left to go, it is hard to envision getting back into the race, but in this season when there should be a red cross on the door of the locker room, I guess it should not be surprising that it is ending the way that it is.
Anyhow, about today…
Verlander (21-5, 2.34 ERA) has not lost since July 15 and has won his last nine starts in a row. Included in that stretch was a win on August 11 in a game where Verlander went seven innings and gave up three runs.
Verlander is only 12-11 lifetime against the Tribe, but that number does not reflect the dominant pitcher that he has become.
Take away Verlander from the mix, and the Tigers are only two games over .500. That says something about what his value is to this Tigers’ team.
The Tribe will send their own Justin today, and Masterson has been nearly as good as Verlander, with the caveat being that Masterson just hasn’t had the run support to pile up the wins.
Masterson (11-8, 2.92 ERA) picked up a win in his last outing when he beat the Royals last Friday in Kansas City, and against Detroit in 2011 he is 0-1 in three appearances, including one outing out of the pen. In 15.1 innings, Justin has surrendered six earned runs to today’s visitors.
After today, the Indians will head to Chicago for a four-game series with the White Sox, beginning on Thursday. Chicago, with three straight wins over the Twins, has crept back into second place in the American League Central — that after having been swept by the Tigers.
The only races that seem as if they might come to fruition in the AL Central are the race for second between the Tribe and the Chisox and the race for fourth between the Twins and the Royals.