The Detroit Tigers took the AL Central in 2011 with 96 wins, and then dispatched the New York Yankees in their division series before losing the ALCS to the Texas Rangers.
With league MVP Justin Verlander again leading the pitching staff and a lockdown closer in Jose Valverde, they figured to dominate in 2012 in a fairly weak AL Central.
Hasn't happened, at least not so far. Detroit is 28-32, sitting just three games ahead of the Royals and three and a half ahead of the last-place Twins. Verlander's been Verlander (and just wait till Thursday, when he'll face the Cubs' impotent offense), but the rest of Detroit's rotation has been shaky, and Valverde has been iffy at times. The pitching staff has given up the third-most runs in the American League.
The Tigers floundered around last year, too; they were just 28-26 on May 31, five games behind the Indians. Then they went 67-41 the rest of the way and won their division by 15 games.
And, the Tigers are 11-3 against the Cubs all-time and have won the last seven games between the two teams. Welcome to Wrigley Field and the 2012 Cubs, Detroit. That should be the cure to most of your ills.
Campana CF, Castro SS, DeJesus RF, Soriano LF, LaHair 1B, Clevenger C, Barney 2B, Stewart 3B, Maholm P
Jackson CF, Boesch RF, Cabrera 3B, Fielder 1B, Young LF, Peralta SS, Laird C, Worth 2B, Scherzer P
|Today's Starting Pitchers|
|2012 - Paul Maholm||4-5||11||11||0||0||0||0||60.0||61||34||34||9||20||36||5.10||1.35|
|2012 - Max Scherzer||5-4||12||12||0||0||0||0||64.1||78||46||42||13||24||80||5.88||1.59|
The most significant thing about Paul Maholm's record against current Tigers is this: he's held Prince Fielder to 6-for-48, all singles, and struck him out 15 times. So, Maholm appears to be the kind of lefty Fielder has trouble with. With Fielder's career record at Wrigley, maybe this means Maholm can have a decent game.
Max Scherzer has made one career start against the Cubs, May 10, 2008 when he was with the Diamondbacks. He threw six good innings, giving up just one unearned run, and then the Cubs teed off on Arizona's bullpen. That latter fact is 100% irrelevant to today's game, where Scherzer comes in with a fairly high season ERA and WHIP. The only current Cubs who have more than three AB against Scherzer are Ian Stewart (2-for-9) and David DeJesus (4-for-14).
Today's game is on CSN Chicago.
Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.
Baseball-reference.com game preview
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Today's first pitch thread will post at 7:05 p.m. CDT and the overflows at 8:05, 9:05 and 9:50 p.m. CDT. If you need more overflows due to extra innings or rain delays, post them in the fanshot section.
Discuss amongst yourselves.