The Detroit Tigers struggled mightily with the Cleveland Indians through the first half of the season. They fell down into third place in the AL Central and lost repeatedly, while the Indians thrived as part of a surprising turnaround. Then, the Chicago White Sox slowly climbed to the top and the Indians started to lose some games. At the same time, the Tigers kicked it into high gear and took the lead in the division (on exactly the same day they did it a season ago -- they went on to finish the season in first place), and they hold the lead right now.
They're looking to exact more revenge on the Tribe, in the form of taking a three-game set two games to one after winning the second game by a score of 5-3. Game 1 was a 3-2 affair in Cleveland's favor, but the Tigers will be sending out Justin Verlander in the third game, and that's close to a guaranteed good day for Tigers fans.
Verlander is 11-5 on the season and is coming off of three-straight decision wins since being rocked in Tampa Bay on June 29. His last outing was a 4-2 win for the Tigers in which he allowed four hits and two runs, including a home run, while walking two and striking out six. He lasted eight innings in that one and is riding a good bit of momentum.
His counter will be Zach McAllister, who hasn't had as good a season but who has been pitching well. He's 4-2 with a 3.21 earned run average, but he lost his last outing after being kept in too long. He only allowed five hits and three runs over just under eight innings of work, but two of those runs were on home runs. He didn't walk any batters while striking out six, though.
Detroit holds a four-game lead in the AL Central over Cleveland and is poised to lengthen it against Cleveland in the final game of the series, which is set for 7:05 p.m. on Thursday.