Interleague Preview from The Sports Network|
Monday, August 11
(All times Eastern)
Detroit Tigers (63-52) at Pittsburgh Pirates (62-55), 7:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Detroit - Justin Verlander (10-10, 4.57)
Pittsburgh - Jeff Locke (3-3, 3.78)
(SportsNetwork.com) - They might not know it, but the Pittsburgh Pirates could
be just what Justin Verlander has been looking for all season.
The perennially dominant right-hander can secure a fifth straight victory
against National League opponents this season -- and 15th straight overall --
when the Detroit Tigers head to PNC Park on Monday night to begin a quick two-
game set with the Pirates.
Verlander has split 20 decisions this season and is en route to his highest
earned run average in six seasons. He's allowed 80 earned runs in 24 starts in
2014, which is just four off the total he gave up across 34 starts in 2013.
Still, he's been better in terms of ERA lately while posting a 3.14 number
across his last four starts, which included a seven-inning outing against the
New York Yankees on Wednesday in which Detroit lost, 5-1.
"If I can pitch like that moving forward, there are going to be a whole lot of
positive outcomes to come," Verlander said.
One start earlier, he'd flexed his interleague muscles with a 4-2 defeat of
Colorado in which he threw eight innings and allowed two runs. His ERA against
NL foes this season is 2.24 in four starts and in 32 career outings in
interleague situations, he's a remarkable 25-2 with a 2.73 ERA.
Four of those wins have come against the Pirates, whom he last faced two years
ago in a complete game victory at PNC Park.
A similarly deep outing might be a necessity for the Tigers on Monday after
they used seven relief pitchers in a 19-inning loss at Toronto on Sunday. In
Verlander's favor is the reality that Pittsburgh could remain without injured
offensive starters Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker.
The Pirates scored five runs in a three-game weekend series with San Diego.
Pittsburgh hasn't lost three straight since early July and will try to prolong
that with lefty Jeff Locke getting the start.
Locke had dropped two straight starts and allowed 12 runs while doing it, but
he bounced back for a 7-3 win on Wednesday after striking out seven in seven
innings against Miami.
He's 2-1 in his last six outings at PNC Park, and allowed seven hits over 5
1/3 scoreless innings in his lone career meeting with Detroit last season.
The Tigers have lost eight of their last 10 games in Pittsburgh.
08/11 10:44:23 ET