The Philadelphia Phillies pay a rare visit to Comerica Park to kick off a three-game interleague series with the Detroit Tigers.
Detroit currently owns a three-game lead over Cleveland in the American League Central. The Tigers had a four-game winning streak snapped in Thursday's 7-4 road loss to the Chicago White Sox as they were unable to complete a four-game road sweep. Justin Verlander was roughed up for seven runs on 11 hits over six innings of work.
Miguel Cabrera has missed the Tigers' last three games with an aggravated left hip flexor, while Torii Hunter exited Thursday's game with a sore left Achilles. Manager Jim Leyland was noncommittal when asked whether Cabrera would return to face the Phillies on Friday.
"I'm not going to do anything stupid," Leyland said. "Just have to wait and see how he comes in tomorrow."
Philadelphia is mired in a season high-tying five-game losing streak as the front office tries to decide whether to buy or sell at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. While Atlanta has had its own struggles, the Braves' eight- game cushion in the National League East still represents the largest division lead in the majors.
The Phillies have totaled only nine runs during their five-game slide. On Thursday, they fell to St. Louis, 3-1, as Cardinals starter Lance Lynn had a hand in three double plays.
The Phillies, already dealing with extended absences to Ryan Howard, Roy Halladay and Ben Revere, placed All-Star left fielder Domonic Brown on the seven-day concussion disabled list after he bumped his head trying to make a diving catch on Tuesday.
"You can't afford blows, but you've got to be able to take a blow, though," manager Charlie Manuel said. "We're supposed to take the blows."
For Friday's series opener, Manuel will turn to the enigmatic Cole Hamels, who yielded four earned runs in five innings against the Mets on Saturday. The left-hander was unable to overcome a three-run first inning in that outing.
"You can't always go out with your best stuff, but you have to make adjustments," said Hamels, who is one loss away from tying the major league lead. "I wasn't able to make the adjustments as quickly as I would have liked in that first inning."
Leyland will give the ball to Doug Fister, who is seeking his third straight win. The right-hander gave up one run on six hits over six innings of a 4-1 win at Kansas City on Sunday. Fister has given up three runs over his last 12 innings.
This marks the Phillies' first trip to Detroit since pulling off a series sweep in the 2002 season. The Tigers have never defeated the Phillies at Comerica Park.