After a wild outing away from home in his last start, Verlander takes the mound for the first-place Detroit Tigers on Wednesday when they wrap up their three-game series with the last-place Athletics in Oakland.
Verlander’s dominance at Comerica Park is a big reason why the Tigers (43-34) have a four-game lead over Chicago in the AL Central, as he’s 4-0 with a 1.11 ERA in six starts in Detroit.
The right-hander hasn’t been nearly as effective away from home, going 4-3 with a 4.88 ERA in 10 appearances.
Verlander fared poorly in Houston on Friday, walking four in 5 1-3 innings and giving up three runs and seven hits in a 5-4 loss. He didn’t get the decision.
“Our (ace) wasn’t really sharp and we couldn’t throw strikes,” manager Jim Leyland said.
After posting a career-high 17 losses last year to match his total from 2005-07, Verlander (8-3, 3.40 ERA) is tied with rookie Rick Porcello(notes) for the team lead in wins. He’ll be making his first appearance in Oakland since striking out 10 over 6 2-3 innings of a 6-1 victory Sept. 1, 2007.
Verlander is 3-2 with a 2.61 ERA in six starts against the A’s, and 1-2 with a 2.77 ERA in four starts in Oakland.
Since beating Baltimore nearly a month ago, the left-hander is 0-2 in four starts despite a 2.84 ERA. Facing Colorado on Friday, Braden gave up four runs - two earned - in 5 1-3 innings en route to a 4-2 loss.
“Poor to quite poor,” Braden told the team’s official Web site about his performance. “This was a good example of what happens when you don’t locate your pitches.”
His worst outing of the year came against the Tigers on May 16 when he surrendered six runs in five innings of a 9-1 defeat. Braden is 1-2 with a 9.13 ERA in five starts versus Detroit.
The Tigers snapped a five-game losing streak in Oakland with a 5-3 victory Tuesday. Placido Polanco(notes) homered after Curtis Granderson(notes) drew a four-pitch walk to lead off the game, giving Detroit a quick 2-0 lead. Polanco added an RBI single in the ninth to make it 5-1.
“One of those teams, man,” said Polanco, batting .389 in his career against Oakland. “I’ve never been part of an ugly win. Every time you win, it’s a beautiful win.”
Mark Ellis(notes), playing in his second game after missing two months with a strained calf, hit a two-run homer off closer Fernando Rodney(notes) in the ninth for the A’s (32-44), losers of six of seven.
The homer was Ellis’ first since Aug. 18.