The Detroit Tigers ace gets another look at the Indians and seeks to help his team complete a sweep Sunday in the finale of a three-game set at Comerica Park.
Verlander (13-8, 3.77 ERA) went 4-0 with a 0.90 ERA in four outings with 41 strikeouts against Cleveland (50-73) in 2009. It’s been a slightly different story this year, as he’s 1-0 with a 6.35 ERA, 21 strikeouts and 12 walks in 17 innings.
Verlander lasted five innings and threw 114 pitches while allowing three runs in Tuesday’s 6-2 road loss to the New York Yankees. He’s 8-3 with a 2.78 ERA in 12 home outings.
Detroit (60-63) will be trying for the sweep after strong seven-inning efforts by its starters in the first two games. Armando Galarraga(notes) yielded three hits in Friday’s 6-0 victory, and Max Scherzer(notes) allowed two runs - one earned - in a 5-2 win Saturday.
The Tigers improved to 8-6 in the season series against the team that swept them in a four-game set after the All-Star break. Don Kelly(notes) homered and Austin Jackson(notes) had two hits and two runs Saturday.
“That was just a good baseball game all around,” third baseman Brandon Inge(notes) said. “We remember that we lost four straight at their place, so we know that we are going to have to work hard to beat them.”
The frustrated Indians, who have an AL-high eight rookies on their active roster, have dropped 10 of 13.
“This is a very young team, and we have to work through stretches like this,” manager Manny Acta said. “I can’t expect these guys to just turn into Robinson Cano(notes), Evan Longoria(notes), Matt Holliday(notes) and Grady Sizemore(notes). This is the team we have, and we aren’t going to whine about it. We’ll take it like men and keep working.”
Rookie Jeanmar Gomez(notes) (3-1, 1.84) is a bright spot, as he prepares to make his sixth major league start and second against Detroit. He beat the Tigers in his debut, giving up two unearned runs over seven innings of a 7-2 home win on July 18.
Gomez, who pitched a perfect game at Double-A Akron in May 2009, has been solid throughout his stint in the rotation. The 22-year-old right-hander has not allowed more than two runs in any of his five starts. He gave up two in six innings Tuesday but suffered his first loss - 2-1 at Kansas City.
“For his age, his composure is above average,” Acta told MLB.com. “He hasn’t been intimidated by anything up here so far. He just continues to go out there and pitch without fear.”