Verlander tries for a fourth straight win and first against the Toronto Blue Jays when these teams open a four-game series at Comerica Park on Thursday afternoon.
Detroit (49-44) snapped its season-high seven-game skid with a 4-1 win over Texas on Wednesday. The Tigers held a one-half game lead in the AL Central on July 10 but are 1-6 since the break and tied with Minnesota for second place behind the surging White Sox.
After Detroit allowed 23 runs the previous three games, three pitchers held the potent Rangers lineup to four hits. The Tigers hope Verlander (11-5, 3.86 ERA) can put them in position to win Thursday in their first meeting with the Blue Jays this season.
The All-Star right-hander is 3-0 with a 3.55 ERA in his last four starts, striking out 32 in 25 1-3 innings. However, he expects to be better after allowing three runs in six innings of a 4-3 loss at Cleveland on Saturday.
“You can always look back on pitches you’d like to have back, but that’s pitching,” Verlander told the Tigers’ official website. “You have to move forward and look ahead to the next one.”
Verlander is ready to improve on his 0-2 record and 11.40 ERA in three starts against Toronto (48-47), which enters this series having lost two of three at Kansas City.
Ricky Romero(notes) (7-6, 3.50) takes the ball trying for a second consecutive win after he allowed two runs in seven innings to beat Baltimore 4-2 on Friday. The left-hander had given up 17 runs in five innings of his final two starts before the All-Star break.
“When I pitch down in the zone - ground balls all day - that’s when I’m at my best,” Romero told the Blue Jays’ official website. “I think sometimes I try to overthrow and try to get to the plate too quick.”
Though Ordonez had an RBI single Wednesday, he is 3 for 24 in his last six games. Cabrera went 6 for 13 with four RBIs during the series with the Rangers.