Justin Verlander has been one of, if not the, best pitchers in the game the past few seasons. However, that hasn't been the case when he visits Seattle.
Tonight, he tries to avoid his fourth straight loss in the Pacific Northwest when the Detroit Tigers continue a three-game series with the Mariners at Safeco Field.
Verlander, the American League's reigning Cy Young Award winner and MVP, is just 1-4 over the past four seasons in the Emerald City with a 4.93 ERA. He's also lost his last three starts there, but is 8-6 lifetime versus the Mariners with a 3.34 ERA in 14 starts.
However, he's 11-0 in his 12 starts overall on the road dating back to last July.
Verlander, who's 2-1 with a 2.38 ERA this season, did not get a decision on Wednesday against Kansas City, but pitched well, surrendering two runs and six hits in eight innings. He also struck out seven in his team's 3-2 loss.
"It was kind of a battle for me," said Verlander. "I really felt like the changeup wasn't that great today, the curveball wasn't really sharp, and the fastball control wasn't that great. From pitch No. 1, [I was] just trying to find it and get it going a little bit."
Verlander will be trying to help the Tigers bounce back from a heartbreaking loss in Monday's opener that saw the Mariners score three times in the bottom of the ninth inning to snatch a 3-2 win.
Trailing 2-0, Brendan Ryan and Ichiro Suzuki worked back-to-back walks off of Octavio Dotel to start the ninth for the Mariners. With Jesus Montero batting, a wild pitch advanced the runners to second and third before Ryan scored on a passed ball later in the at-bat.
Montero then drilled a double off the center-field wall to plate Suzuki. Munenori Kawasaki came on to pinch-run for Montero, while Duane Below replaced Dotel on the mound.
"In that at-bat I was trying to get the right pitch, but he was throwing ball, ball, ball. You got to look for the right pitch to hit and I thank God I found that right pitch," said Montero.
Kyle Seager moved Kawasaki to third with a sacrifice bunt and he came home on John Jaso's sacrifice fly to right field, ending the game.
"I just couldn't throw a strike, I was trying to hit my spot, but it doesn't work today, so hopefully, tomorrow's another day," said Dotel.
Tonight, the Mariners will turn to veteran righty Kevin Millwood, who is 0-3 with a 5.34 ERA. Millwood lost his third straight start on Thursday against Tampa Bay, as he allowed four runs and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings.
Millwood has faced the Tigers 15 times and is 4-5 with a 4.05 ERA.
The Mariners swept a three-game series in Detroit from April 24-26 and have won nine of the past 11 encounters.