The 5-4 (1-3 on the road) Detroit Tigers take on the 7-3 (2-1 at home) Seattle Mariners at 10:10 pm EST tonight as part of our Baseball Instinct Game of the day!
TV: Tigers – FS-D, Mariners FSNW-HD, MLB Network, On the Net – MLB.tv
Radio: Tigers - WXYT 1270, Mariners - 710 (KIRO) ESPN. As always you can catch all games on MLB Game Day Audio.
Here’s a closer fantasy look at the game of the day!
Probable Tigers starting pitcher: RHP Justin Verlander (0-1, 9.35 era in 2009)
From Matt Beardmoore, STATS writer – Coming off a difficult 2008, Justin Verlander is still looking for his first win of 2009.
Considering the right-hander’s career success against Seattle, that could happen Friday night in the series opener atSafeco Field.
Verlander makes his third start of the season as the Detroit Tigers (5-4) open their nine-game trip and three-game set against the surprising Mariners.
Verlander (0-1, 9.35 ERA) last pitched Saturday in a 4-3 win over Texas as he allowed two hits and one run in five innings. This was a far improvement from the Tigers’ season opener against Toronto on April 6, when he surrendered eight runs and eight hits in 3 2-3 innings.
“If I throw the ball like that all season, I’ll be very successful,” Verlander said following Saturday’s game.
In his last outing in Seattle, Verlander gave up two runs and eight hits in six innings as Detroit won 8-4 on July 3.
“My goal is, within the next four or five starts, is to get Verlander through seven innings on a consistent basis for the rest of the year,” Detroit manager Jim Leyland told the team’s official Web site.
Verlander faces a Seattle club looking to bounce back from Thursday’s 5-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels. The Mariners (7-3) had their six-game winning streak snapped as they were held to four hits.
Probable Mariners starting pitcher: RHP Felix Hernandez (1-0, 4.15 ERA in 2009)
Felix Hernandez (1-0, 4.15) makes his first start at Safeco Field in 2009. In his last appearance, the right-handerallowed five runs and seven hits in an 8-5 win over Oakland.
“I think his ankle was bothering him a little bit,” Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said. “I don’t think it was a huge issue but it was enough to throw his mechanics off.”
Hernandez is 3-2 with a 2.97 ERA lifetime against Detroit but has won his last three starts versus the Tigers, including a seven-inning effort on May 31 when he surrendered two hits in a 5-0 victory.
Verlander gave up four runs in seven innings in that game – his only career loss to the Mariners.
Fantasy hitting stud for the Tigers: 1B Miguel Cabrera, OF Curtis Granderson, OF Magglio Ordonez. 2B PlacidoPalanco and 3B Carlos are just a notch below. Both very productive and often times Polanco is over looked.
Who’s hot: The “Ace” SP Armando Galarraga - eh what? He’s 2-0 with 13 k’s in 13 innings pitched. Closer Fernando Rodney is perfect in 4 apperances, striking out 4 and picking up 2 saves.
Who’s not: The closer who was, Brandon Lyon. He’s 1-1 with a blown save and a 9.00 era. Not exactly what the Tigers or fantasy owners had in mind.
Worth keeping an eye on: SP Rick Porcello and RP Ryan Perry. Porcello came in at #8 on our 2009 Baseball Instinct top prospect list. He has a chance to be a very useful pitcher this season and an elite for years to come. Perry, who just missed our top 100 list, is off to a good start this season and if Zumya isn’t careful, it could be Perry and not Zumya, who is the closer for the Tigers for years to come.
Fantasy pitching studs for the Mariners: SP Felix Hernandez and SP Erik Bedard. King Felix is getting stronger every season and at age 23 the sky is the limit for him. This is the season he puts it all together and gets mentioned in CY Young talks. Bedard was anything but elite last season. He’s healthy now and off to a great start – and pitching for a contract. I’m not a fan of Brandon Morrow as the closer and out of the rotation, howver he has the potential to be a very good one. SP Jarrod Washburn looks like he did in his prime with the Angels. He won’t ever be confused with an ace, but you could do worse at the end of your fantasy rotation.
Who’s hot: Bedard and Washburn. They have 27.1 innings between them, giving up all of 5 runs, while walking 2 andstriking out 23. That’s hot.
Who’s not: Closer Brandon Morrow. He’s giving up a run and 2 walks per inning right now. That’s not going to fly, but theres no reason to believe he won’t get it right in a hurry.
Worth keeping an eye on: SP Stephen Strasburg. I know, I’m going to get laughed out of the building on this one. However, the Nationals with their terminal “Borasaphobia”, may just pass on the once in a generation pitcher who will no doubt command a large major league contract before he signs. It’s a stretch, but the Mariners would not make the same mistake and Strassy could slide right into their rotation by mid summer, win the AL ROY and help the Mariners win a soft AL WEST title. Hey - this is after all, a FANTASY article. Enjoy my madness haters.
Interestingly enough: Verlander is 6-1 with a 2.91 ERA lifetime against the Mariners. He’ll try to improve to 4-1 atSafeco Field. Hernandez is 3-2 with a 2.97 ERA lifetime against Detroit but has won his last three starts versus the Tigers, including a seven-inning effort on May 31 when he surrendered two hits in a 5-0 victory.
KEY STAT: Detroit was 7-3 against the Mariners last season, but won just four of the seven games played in Seattle.
CONNECTIONS: Tigers 3B Carlos Guillen was the Mariners SS from 1998 to 2003. He and Freddy Garcia were the key pieces in the Randy Johnson to the Astros deal. Tigers SS Ramon Santiago played for the Mariners from 2004 to 2005 – he was part of the Carlos Guillen to the Tigers deal, horrible trade is an understatement.
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