Coming off a convincing game in the first matchup of the season between these Central Division foes, the Detroit Tigers will send ace Justin Verlander to the mound in the second game of this series against the Cleveland Indians.
Miguel Cabrera blasted a three-run home run in the fifth inning and Prince Fielder also homered en route to a 10-4 win for the Tigers on Friday night. Cabrera was 2-for-5 in the contest while Fielder's lone hit was his home run, a solo shot. Alex Avila also had a strong game at the plate with a pair of hits and three RBI.
Max Scherzer kept his record clean (5-0) by picking up the win for the Tigers as he went eight innings, allowing four runs and striking out seven. The win put an end to a two-game slide for the division-leading Tigers.
Core Kluber (2-2) really labored through his 4 2/3 innings of work in making the start for the Indians. He allowed eight runs on eight hits while tossing 91 pitches.
The loss ended a four-game winning streak for the Indians, who did not have a single extra base hit in the contest.
A year after leading the American League in losses, Ubaldo Jimenez still doesn't seem any closer to recapturing the form he had with Colorado that had him among baseball's elite in 2010. Jimenez has labored through his first six starts of this season and is currently sitting at 2-2 with an ERA of 6.37.
However, there is some optimism in Cleveland for the right-hander as he has shown flashes of brilliance this season with three starts in which he has gone at least 5 2/3 innings and allowed two or fewer runs. That included a scoreless seven innings against Kansas City on April 29. Add in the 5 2/3 innings in which he allowed two runs against Oakland on Monday and Jimenez has won each of his last two starts and seen his ERA drop by nearly four runs.
Even though Jimenez had a troubled season a year ago, he actually pitched well against the Division-winning Tigers. In six starts, he went 2-2 with an ERA of 3.86, which was his lowest ERA against any AL Central squad.
On the opposite end of the spectrum this season, and last, is Jimenez's dueling partner for this matchup: Justin Verlander. The 2011 AL Cy Young and MVP winner doesn't look to be slowing down at all as he has gotten off to another strong start.
Though his record isn't anything stunning (4-2), Verlander has an impeccable 1.55 ERA and has struck out 50 batters in 46 1/3 innings of work already this season. His ERA is currently third in the majors and he is also among the top 15 pitchers in baseball in strikeouts.
It has been nearly a week since Verlander last started and he threw seven shutout innings and struck out nine in a 9-0 win over the Houston Astros. The effort came two games after he left an April 25 start against Kansas City with an injured thumb. He has looked just fine in the two starts since with just one run allowed in 14 innings.
Verlander won just one of his three starts against the Indians last season but he still had an ERA of 2.45 against them. In his career, Verlander has had more middling success against the Tribe with a record of 14-13 and an ERA of 4.55, the highest among teams he has faced at least 10 times.
During the season series last year, Detroit actually had a losing record against Cleveland (8-10).