Thursday, June 30, 2011

Preview: 2011 Regular Season Game 81 - Mets at Tigers


New York Mets (41-39) at Detroit Tigers (43-38), 1:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: New York - Mike Pelfrey (4-6, 4.78) Detroit - Justin Verlander (10-3, 2.38)

In the first sellout since the home opener at Comerica Park last Saturday versus Arizona, Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander struck out a career-high 14 batters en route to his 10th win of the season.

Verlander will try to become the majors' first 11-game winner today in the finale of a three-game series versus the New York Mets in Motown. New York Yankees lefty CC Sabathia is also going for his 11th win several miles east this afternoon versus the Milwaukee Brewers.

The right-hander hopes to make quick work of the Mets and is a sizzling 8-0 with a 1.56 earned run average in his last 10 starts. The Tigers are 9-1 in that time and watched their ace tear through the Diamondbacks in last weekend's 6-0 home victory. He allowed one walk and scattered four hits, improving to 10-3 with a 2.38 ERA in 17 starts. He has won his last six starts and hasn't suffered defeat since April 27 in a 10-1 loss versus Seattle.

"I feel like I'm throwing the ball really well," Verlander said on the club's site after his last win. "I feel like my fastball control has been outstanding, for the most part, during this stretch. Most of the good games I have are built off of that, being able to locate that, and mixing the offspeed off of that."

Verlander is 6-2 in 10 home starts and lost his only appearance to the Mets last June 22, when he gave up five runs in two innings of a 14-6 disaster.



Detroit can use some formidable pitching after getting rocked in the first two installments of this series. After dropping a 14-3 decision on Tuesday, the Tigers sustained a 16-9 loss last night. Phil Coke was buried on the mound and allowed eight runs -- seven earned -- and 10 hits in just four innings of work. Coke is now 1-8 on the season and couldn't get anything going despite his offense producing five home runs.

"The way we were hitting the ball out tonight I really thought we were going to win," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.

Miguel Cabrera homered twice and finished with four RBI, while Andy Dirks, Jhonny Peralta and Ryan Raburn each went deep for Detroit, which is tied with Cleveland atop the AL Central standings even though the Indians are percentage points ahead. Detroit is 3-3 on a 10-game homestand and will host San Francisco over the weekend.

New York has been on fire lately and extended its winning streak to four games, setting a team record by scoring 52 runs over that span. It posted 20 hits last night thanks to four-hit performances from Ronny Paulino and Angel Pagan. Pagan and Daniel Murphy both knocked in four runs and Scott Hairston had a bases-clearing triple during a four-run first inning.

"We're swinging the bats well. It's nice to play well, so hopefully we can keep it going," Murphy said.

Starter Chris Capuano earned the win thanks to the barrage of runs and allowed five runs on six hits over five-plus innings. The Mets are now a season high- tying two games over .500 for the first time since April 3 and broke the team's previous four-game mark of 50 runs, established back in 1990.

The Mets, who have won six of seven games, will host the crosstown rival Yankees this weekend at Citi Field. They will send Mike Pelfrey to the mound in this series finale and he's just 1-3 with a 4.44 earned run average in his last seven starts. Pelfrey was previously in action during last Friday's 8-1 loss at Texas and allowed four runs on eight hits in six innings.

Pelfrey was coming off a complete-game effort against the LA Angels in which he allowed one run in a 6-1 victory. He fell to 4-6 in 16 starts on the season and owns a 4.78 ERA. Pelfrey hasn't fared to well on the road as evidenced by his 1-6 mark in nine starts outside of Citi Field.

The right-hander has never faced Detroit in his career.

The Mets won two of three at home versus the Tigers last year, but dropped two of three in their last trip to Detroit in 2007.
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