The Tigers enter the three-game series with a four-game lead in the AL Central, their largest of the season. They've won six of their last 10 games. Detroit is hitting .298 against the Tribe with Miguel Cabrera leading the way at .400 (8-for-20) with two homers and six RBI. Verlander is 1-0 against the Indians this year and 7-1 over the last three.
- Tigers News/Notes:
DH Victor Martinez is expected to return to action tonight here in Cleveland after sitting out Detroit's game Sunday in Kansas City due to a left knee injury. Martinez is hitting .342 in his last 63 games, including .556 with runners in scoring position since July 17.
RHP Jose Valverde can set a new Detroit record if he converts his next save opportunity, which would be his 33rd in a row. Valverde is currently tied with LHP Willie Hernandez, who didn't blow any of his 32 save chances while winning the MVP and Cy Young Award for the 1984 Tigers.
OF Andy Dirks has performed well for Detroit, and manager Jim Leyland likes his all-around game. Leyland has spot-played him and used him as a pinch runner.
LF Brennan Boesch will continue to bat in the second spot in Detroit's lineup, probably for the remainder of the season. Boesch began the season as a support hitter to 1B Miguel Cabrera and DH Victor Martinez in the sixth, sometimes seventh spot in the order. Leyland had a chance to move Boesch down to third Sunday but kept him second, where he has hit since 2B Carlos Guillen returned to the roster after the All-Star break.
RHP Max Scherzer continues to progress as a pitcher, but manager Jim Leyland says the right-hander still has a couple of things he needs to do. Scherzer allowed three runs in one inning and a solo home run later in absorbing a 4-3 loss Sunday in Kansas City.
Tigers Medical Watch:
DH Victor Martinez (sprained left knee) was hurt in the Aug. 6 game and was held out Aug. 7. He is day-to-day and should return tonight.
LHP Brad Thomas (sore left elbow) went on the 60-day disabled list July 25. He was shut down from throwing until at least mid-August.
RHP Joel Zumaya (right elbow surgery in July 2010) experienced pain in the elbow during his Feb. 27 spring debut, and he went on the 15-day disabled list March 30. He was transferred to the 60-day DL on April 18. He had exploratory surgery May 10, and he might be out for the season.
RHP Doug Fister (4-12, 3.29) vs. RHP Justin Masterson (9-7, 2.63) Tonight at 7:05 p.m.
RHP Scott Porcello (11-6, 4.49) vs. RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (6-9, 4.64) Wednesday at 7:05 p.m.
RHP Justin Verlander (16-5, 2.30) vs. RHP Fausto Carmona (5-11, 5.19) Thursday at 7:05 p.m.