Cleveland (62-78) at Detroit (36-102)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Detroit, MI
Temp: 70° F
  • Game info: 1:05 pm EDT Thu Sep 4, 2003
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Gary Knotts will make his first start since mid-June when the major league-worst Detroit Tigers conclude a four-game series with the Cleveland Indians at Comerica Park.

Knotts, part of the corps of young arms in Detroit’s rotation to start the season, was sent down to Triple-A Toledo on June 23 after managing only two wins, and a 5.04 ERA.

The 6-foot-4 right-hander made 13 starts with Toledo, going 4-6 with a 5.13 ERA. He was recalled Monday, and will be making his first big league start since June 15, when he surrendered five runs and nine hits over 4 2-3 innings in a 5-4 loss to Colorado.

“Knotts’ timing was real bad,” pitching coach Bob Cluck said of the right-hander’s first stint with the Tigers this season. “We were struggling real bad (when he was sent down), and he had three out of four bad starts. ‘What have you done for me lately’ really hit right between the eyes.”

Knotts could impress manager Alan Trammell with a strong finish and gain consideration for a rotation spot next season.

The Tigers have won two in a row, including Wednesday’s 6-5, 11-inning triumph.

Shane Halter belted a game-winning homer leading off the 11th as Detroit moved into position to win its first series since taking three straight from the Chicago White Sox from July 8-10—the Tigers’ last three-game win streak.

The Tigers need seven wins in their final 24 games to avoid matching the 1962 Mets’ modern-era record of 120 losses.

The Indians got a homer and two RBIs Wednesday from Alex Escobar en route to their fourth loss in five games.

STANDINGS: Indians - 4th place, 11 1/2 GB, AL Central. Tigers - 5th place, 37 1/2 GB, AL Central.

INDIANS PROBABLE STARTER: Jake Westbrook (6-8, 4.80 ERA). Westbrook is 3-4 in nine starts since rejoining the Indians’ rotation at the start of August. The right-hander allowed three earned runs and eight hits over 5 1-3 innings in Saturday’s 9-3 loss to Toronto, striking out two and walking a season-high six. Westbrook is 0-1 with a 7.45 ERA in five career appearances, including three starts, against the Tigers.

TIGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Knotts (2-5, 5.04 ERA). Knotts did not receive a decision in either of his two appearances against the Indians this season, but Cleveland pounded him for eight runs and 10 hits over only 6 1-3 innings.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Indians - Milton Bradley, .321 avg. and 17 SBs.; Jody Gerut, 19 HRs and 68 RBIs; Casey Blake, 71 runs. Tigers - Dmitri Young, .294 avg., 28 HRs, 73 RBIs and 70 runs; Alex Sanchez, 32 SBs.

SEASON SERIES: Indians, 12-5.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Indians - Rookie OF Ryan Ludwick left Wednesday’s game in the fifth inning after jamming his right knee during a play at first base. He is listed as day-to-day. … RHP Westbrook is 3-4 with a 4.44 ERA in 13 appearances, including eight starts, on the road this year. … OF Gerut is 3-for-4 with a homer and six RBIs against RHP Knotts. Tigers - The Tigers called up CF Andres Torres from Triple-A Toledo after OF Cody Ross went down with a torn right ACL on Tuesday. Ross is expected to be ready for spring training. … Knotts is winless at Comerica this season, going 0-4 with a 3.76 ERA in seven appearances, including six starts. … 1B-OF Young is 4-for-5 with two homers and six RBIs against Westbrook.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Indians - 27-41 on the road; Tigers - 17-51 at home.

INJURIES: Indians - OF Ludwick (knee), day-to-day; INF John McDonald (back), 15-day DL; OF Bradley (back), 15-day DL; OF Ellis Burks (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Jason Bere (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Dave Elder (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Bob Wickman (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Mark Wohlers (elbow), 60-day DL; INF Ricky Gutierrez (back), 60-day DL. Tigers - INF Eric Munson (thumb), 15-day DL; 3B Dean Palmer (shoulder and neck), 60-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Westbrook StL vs. G. Knotts NYM
7-10 Record 3-8
4.33 ERA 6.04
58 K 51
56 BB 47
1.49 WHIP 1.66