Major League Baseball
Preview
Detroit at Minnesota
When: 8:10 PM ET, Saturday, August 23, 2014
Where: Target Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Justin Verlander has been a rock for the Detroit Tigers for nearly a decade but suddenly questions abound about the reliability - and health - of the 2011 American League Cy Young Award winner. Verlander rejoins the rotation after missing the first start of his storied career and faces the host Minnesota Twins in the nightcap of Saturday's doubleheader. Verlander has been sidelined since lasting only one inning due to shoulder inflammation in his last start Aug. 11.

Detroit, which trails first-place Kansas City by 2 1/2 games in the AL Central and is a half-game behind Seattle for the second wild card, will send out Buck Farmer for his second career start in the opener of the twin bill. The Tigers could use quality outings from both starters after they were forced to use eight pitchers in the 20-6 series-opening drubbing. Eduardo Escobar collected five hits and was among four players to homer as the Twins set a Target Field record for runs scored.

TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, FSN Detroit, FSN North (Minnesota)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Tigers RH Justin Verlander (10-11, 4.76 ERA) vs. Twins RH Trevor May (0-2, 9.00)

Verlander has struggled to find his form all season but showed signs of coming around with four consecutive quality starts before surrendering five runs in one inning at Pittsburgh and exiting with shoulder soreness last time out. That ended a streak of 10 straight outings in which Verlander had pitched at least six innings. He is 14-8 with a 3.10 ERA in 28 starts against the Twins after absorbing a 2-1 setback on May 9.

May tossed four scoreless innings at Kansas City before losing the strike zone and wound up being charged with three runs on seven hits and four walks over 4 2/3 innings in his second major-league start. Control issues have tormented May, who has walked 13 batters versus only three strikeouts over nine innings in three career appearances. Right-handed batters are hitting a robust .471 against May.

WALK-OFFS

1. Tigers RHP Jim Johnson, signed following his release by Oakland, has yielded seven runs and walked five in 2 1/3 innings spanning three appearances.

2. Twins OF Oswaldo Arcia is riding a six-game hitting streak and has six homers and 14 RBIs in his last 10 games.

3. The Tigers sent LHPs Robbie Ray and Ian Krol to Triple-A Toledo and promoted LHPs Kyle Lobstein and Patrick McCoy after Friday's loss.

PREDICTION: Tigers 5, Twins 3
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Detroit 68-58 L2 33-29 35-29 15-14 24-22 18-16 11-6
Minnesota 57-70 W2 28-35 29-35 13-15 26-26 11-19 7-10
Last Meeting
Detroit Minnesota
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
8/22/14 DET 6 MIN 20 .357 1 .840 .435 4 1.353
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Detroit M. Cabrera .371 13 .925
Minnesota E. Escobar .481 13 1.443
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Detroit V. Martinez 3 6 10
Minnesota B. Dozier 3 6 8
Pitching ERA Avg K
Detroit 5.24 .310 68
Minnesota 4.92 .271 42
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Detroit V. Martinez .324 140 .940
Minnesota K. Suzuki .295 107 .742
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Detroit V. Martinez 24 62 80
Minnesota B. Dozier 20 86 55
Pitching ERA Avg K
Detroit 4.00 .272 977
Minnesota 4.40 .249 795