American League Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, September 3 (All times Eastern)
Detroit Tigers (75-62) at Cleveland Indians (70-65), 7:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Detroit - Justin Verlander (12-11, 4.68) Cleveland - Danny Salazar (5-6, 4.23)
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Detroit Tigers hope to have a focused Justin Verlander on Wednesday when they continue their four-game series with the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field.
Verlander has had to deal with some off the field issues of late, as he and girlfriend Kate Upton - among many other celebrities - had their phones hacked and some of their private photos posted online.
"I'm not going to comment on my personal life," Verlander said. "I never have and I never plan on it. I keep my personal life personal. The focus for me is on the Detroit Tigers."
The scandal is just the latest bit of adversity for the former American League Cy Young Award winner, who recently had to deal with some shoulder soreness and is just 12-11 on the year with an uncharacteristically high ERA of 4.68.
"Baseball is my life, and I'm more at home here than anywhere else in the world," he said. "I'm always able to focus on that, especially when I'm on the mound, doing what I've done my whole life."
Verlander seemed fine on Friday in Chicago, as he won his second straight start and held the White Sox to one run and nine hits over seven innings.
Detroit won its fifth straight game in Cleveland on Tuesday, as J.D. Martinez hit safely three times and struck the go-ahead three-run home run in the ninth inning to lift the Tigers to a 4-2 victory.
Victor Martinez, Rajai Davis and Miguel Cabrera each collected three hits for the Tigers, who won in more convincing fashion, 12-1, in Monday's opener and have taken five of their last seven overall.
Detroit remained a half-game behind Kansas City in the AL Central, following the Royals' 2-1 win against Texas.
Phil Coke (3-2) turned in four outs of scoreless relief, while Joe Nathan closed out the contest to earn his 29th save. Recalled from Triple-A Toledo before the game, Kyle Lobstein started and fanned a career-best 10 over 5 1/3 frames. He surrendered three walks, five hits and two runs.
Carlos Santana posted a two-run blast while Michael Brantley added two hits and scored a run for the Indians, losers of two straight after winning six of seven. Cody Allen (5-4) suffered the loss and a blown save after serving up the deciding blast to Martinez.
"He really didn't command his fastball tonight," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Allen.
Cleveland, meanwhile, will hand the ball to righty Danny Salazar, who is 5-6 with a 4.23 ERA. Salazar was terrific against the Royals on Friday, as he scattered four hits over five scoreless innings to get the win.
"I think Danny was really good," Indians manager Terry Francona said afterward. "He was really aggressive with his fastball, and you could tell he had confidence in it, and even in the tempo in his delivery, which is something (pitching coach) Mickey (Callaway) kind of harps on him about, was really good from start to finish."
Salazar's main job will be to slow down the great Cabrera, who is hitting .421 against the Tribe this season with three home runs and 10 RBI. He's also driven in 29 runs over his last 22 games at Progressive Field.
In fact, Cabrera's 22 home runs versus the Indians since 2010 are his most against any team during that time, and his 21 at Progressive Field are the most by any opposing player in the park's 20-year history.
Detroit has split its 14 matchups with the Indians this season.
09/03 10:33:30 ET