On Deck is FanHouse's look at the day's most intriguing baseball matchups
Before the season started, the Detroit Tigers were the popular pick amongst baseball fans and experts alike as the eventual World Series champion. After adding Miguel Cabrera to a potent lineup that already included hitters like Magglio Ordonez, Gary Sheffield, Carlos Guillen, Curtis Granderson, and Ivan Rodriguez, there was talk that the Tigers would score 1,000 runs this season.
Who knew they'd need to? Though most people were aware that the Detroit bullpen would be a problem area, I don't think anybody thought they would be as bad as they have been in 2008. So now here we sit on August 7th, and the Tigers find themselves in a tailspin.
After building up some momentum in recent weeks to get back into the AL Central race, the Tigers have now lost six in a row to fall three games under .500. They're also on the verge of being swept by the division leading Chicago White Sox and falling 9.5 games out of first place, which could effectively end any hope they have of playing this October.
So will the Tigers pull the plug on their season tonight, or are they going to rise up and start mauling people again? Find out after the jump.
Chicago White Sox (63-49) vs. Detroit Tigers (55-58) - 8:11PM Est.
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The White Sox may not have had their manager Ozzie Guillen around for the last two games, but it turns out the team can win without him, taking the first two of their three-game set with the Tigers. Ozzie is back and rested tonight, and he'd love nothing more than to help drive the final nail into Detroit's coffin.
He'd also like for his starter tonight, Javier Vazquez, to get his act together. Vazquez has had a horrible summer, going 2-5 with a 6.55 ERA in nine starts in June and July. He may turn that around tonight, though, as Vazquez has dominated the Tigers at U.S. Cellular Field in his career, going 3-0 with a 1.99 ERA.
The Tigers will counter with Zach Miner, who hasn't had the same kind of success against the White Sox. In three starts against Chicago, Miner is 1-2 with an 8.53 ERA, though he did win his last time out against them. Zach allowed only two runs over six innings back at Comerica Park on July 27th.
Philadelphia Phillies (62-51) vs. Florida Marlins (60-54) - 1:05PM Est.
After surrendering their division lead to the New York Mets for a few days, the Phillies have climbed back to the top of the NL East and put some space between themselves and the Mets and Marlins in the process. This afternoon they'll look to add more padding to their lead over Florida as they try to take two of three from the Fish.
Normally the Phillies would feel as though they were guaranteed a win today with their ace Cole Hamels on the mound, but Cole hasn't had much luck lately. He hasn't won a start since July 3rd, and has only lasted 9 2/3 innings in his last two starts, giving up fourteen runs in the process. Today will be the fourth time Cole has faced Florida this season, and though he's pitched well in two of them, the Phillies are 0-3 in his first three starts.
Chris Volstad will start for the Marlins, and it will be the fifth start of the rookie's career. Volstad had his worst outing the last time out, when he allowed five runs in five innings during a loss against the Rockies. Today will be his first time facing Philadelphia.
New York Mets (59-54) vs. San Diego Padres (44-70) - 12:10PM Est.
The Mets will be pretty interested in what goes on between the Phillies and Marlins this afternoon, but before those two face off, they have their own game to deal with. The Mets have fallen three games behind the Phillies in the NL East thanks to seven losses in their last ten games and would like to avoid losing two of three at home to the NL's worst team this afternoon.
Which is why they're probably happy to see Johan Santana taking the mound for them at Shea today. Of course, Johan would just appreciate it if the Mets bullpen (2-5 7.51 ERA and four blown saves in team's last 15 games) didn't blow another one of his starts for them like they've done two of his last three starts. It's the second time Johan will be facing San Diego this season, as he allowed two runs in six innings against them on June 6th, but picked up a loss as the Padres took that game 2-1.
The Padres will turn to Josh Banks to give San Diego a record of 6-1 against the Mets this season. Banks faced the Mets earlier this season and allowed only one run in six innings, but didn't factor into the decision of an eventual San Diego victory.
- Cardinals vs. Dodgers - 2:15PM
- Rockies vs. Nationals - 3:05PM - Game One
- Rockies vs. Nationals - 6:00PM - Game Two
- Blue Jays vs. Athletics - 7:07PM
- Reds vs. Astros - 7:10PM
- Rangers vs. Yankees - 8:05PM
- Diamondbacks vs. Braves - 9:40PM
- Mariners vs. Rays - 10:10PM