Former American League MVP and Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander will make his final postseason tuneup for the Detroit Tigers Sunday in the finale of a three-game series against the Miami Marlins.
Verlander is just 1-4 in his last five decisions and did not factor in the outcome of Monday's 4-3 loss at Minnesota, where he delivered six scoreless innings and struck out 12 batters. Verlander is 13-12 in 33 starts with a 3.56 earned run average and 7-6 in 16 road assignments.
The hard-throwing right-hander has never faced the Marlins.
Miami will counter with Henderson Alvarez and he has dropped two straight and three of his last four starts. Alvarez pitched well in a 2-1 loss to Philadelphia on Tuesday and yielded just a pair of runs and five hits across seven innings of work.
Alvarez owns a 4-6 mark in 16 starts to go along with a 3.94 ERA and has a 2-5 record in eight home starts. The righty faced the Tigers in a 5-1 triumph last July 28 and earned the win with seven innings of one-run ball
Detroit, which is the No. 3 seed in the American League playoffs, is hoping to avoid the sweep Sunday and has dropped two in a row and four of its last six games. In Saturday's 2-1 setback in 10 innings, Marlins power hitter Giancarlo Stanton singled home Justin Ruggiano to end the game.
Evan Reed was dealt the loss and Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez threw five shutout innings and struck out eight against his former club.
"I think it's more about getting ready for the playoffs right now," said Sanchez. "We just want to make sure everybody is healthy and set for when the next series starts."
Miguel Cabrera, Jhonny Peralta and Omar Infante had two hits apiece in defeat. Infante has a 10-game hitting streak.
Christian Yelich had two hits and scored a run for Miami, which has won three in a row and four of five games. Nathan Eovaldi started for the Marlins and did not record a decision with six innings of one-run ball. Closer Steve Cishek picked up the win with a scoreless ninth.
The Tigers and Marlins are playing against each other for the first time since 2004, when Detroit won two of three matchups in the Motor City. The Marlins took two of three meetings with Detroit at home back in 2002.