The Detroit Tigers entered this week's series with the Cleveland Indians with a chance to close the gap -- or heck, maybe even knot things up -- in the AL Central.
Well, some more dreadful offense has required a recalibration of expectations. Now the Tigers are just trying to avoid getting swept.
Cleveland held a 3.0-game AL Central lead over Detroit when the series began Tuesday, and after two straight wins, that lead has ballooned 5.0 games.
Justin Verlander will try to stop the bleeding for the Tigers, and he's as good a bet as anyone to give Detroit a win. Last time out, Verlander had a nine-inning, 12-strikeout, one-hit gem against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Coupled with his May 13 start, Verlander has now given up just three hits in hit last 16 innings -- while ringing up 20 K's. He is 5-1 with a 2.14 ERA.
Verlander might not need it, but it would be nice to if the Tigers scored a few runs. Over its last six games, Detroit has only cracked the four-run mark once. In four of those six -- including the first two in Cleveland -- the Tigers have failed to score more than three runs.
It won't help that Austin Jackson, who leads the team in runs, doubles and walks, could be out yet again.
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