A first career Cy Young Award seems like a lock for Tigers ace Justin Verlander. An MVP honor isn't out of the question either.
The Orioles' Jeremy Guthrie, who leads the majors in losses, is just trying to end this season with a little success.
Verlander looks to become the first American League pitcher to win 13 straight starts in 62 years this evening when Detroit continues a four-game series against Baltimore.
Verlander comes into this start having not lost since July 15. He is 20-2 over his past 22 starts and leads the majors with 24 wins and 244 strikeouts. His 2.29 earned run average is also tops in the American League, giving him a shot at winning the league's pitching Triple Crown.
The right-hander has not allowed a run over his past two outings, including Sunday's win at Oakland. He hurled eight innings of three-hit ball, walking three and striking out six.
Verlander, the projected Game 1 starter for next week's Division Series for the AL Central-champion Tigers, is still striving to be better despite becoming the league's first 24-game winner since Bob Welch captured 27 games in 1990.
"Better today," Verlander told Detroit's website. "Obviously, I'm somebody who's always striving for perfection. That's never going to quite be the case, so there's always going to be things to work on. I felt like the last two have definitely been trending the way I'd like."
The 28-year-old is trying to become the first hurler since Ellis Kinder in 1949 to win 13 starts in a row and he has never lost to Baltimore, going 6-0 with a 2.64 ERA in eight career starts.
For Guthrie, he tries to avoid a career-worst 18th loss on the season for a fourth start in a row. The righty has won three straight outings since matching his career high for single-season losses and is coming off a win over Boston on Monday despite allowing four runs on 10 hits over six-plus innings in the first game of a doubleheader.
The 32-year-old is 9-17 with a 4.28 and is trying to reach double-digit wins for a fourth straight campaign.
Guthrie is 3-2 with a 3.64 ERA in his career versus the Tigers, but allowed six runs over 5 2/3 innings of a loss when he last faced them on Aug. 13.
Baltimore had won eight of its previous 10 -- all against playoff-contending clubs -- before last night's 4-3 loss to Detroit in the second contest of this four-game set.
Miguel Cabrera hit a two-run homer and Victor Martinez drove in Danny Worth with the winning run in the bottom of the 11th for the Tigers, who are battling the current AL West-leading Rangers for home-field advantage in the AL Division Series.
"He doesn't get too excited. He's pretty calm," said Tigers manager Jim Leyland of his Martinez. "The guy got two quick strikes on him, and some players might say 'oh no,' but for him it was probably the best thing that happened. I leave the hitting to him, and I sit there and watch the game unfold."
Detroit has now split eight meetings with Baltimore this year.
Vladimir Guerrero collected two hits and drove in a run for the Orioles, leaving him two hits shy of breaking Julio Franco's all-time hits record for a Dominican-born player that stands at 2,586.
J.J. Hardy added three hits and scored twice in the setback.