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Detroit Tigers Vs. Toronto Blue Jays Series Preview: David Price Reunion not on Menu This Weekend

August 28th, 2015 at 12:35 PM
By Max DeMara

The Detroit Tigers won't have to deal with the emotion and difficulty of facing their departed former ace this weekend while facing the Toronto Blue Jays.

As far as advantages go, that's about all the team can expect. Detroit will trot out two rookie starters to go against a trio that has 33 combined wins. Otherwise, the Blue Jays' offense is routinely able to swing the big bats, given they are the best offense in baseball and have scored 689 runs.

Knowing this, it could be tough sledding for the Tigers north of the border. Here's the preview of Detroit's final encounter with their neighbors from the north in 2015.

Players To Watch: Miguel Cabrera and Josh Donaldson. Last time he played the Blue Jays, Cabrera went down with the fateful injury which cost him most of the second half of the season. This time, he comes back swinging a much hotter bat, and is inserting himself back into the batting title conversation with excellent hitting. Donaldson has kept up the hot hitting all season, and will put his 34 home runs to the test against the likes of Cabrera and J.D. Martinez. Donaldson is one of the best hitters in the game, and will test the young pitchers immensely.

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Detroit Tigers May Have Found Their Own Frustrating ‘Crafty Veteran’ in Randy Wolf

August 28th, 2015 at 10:59 AM
By Max DeMara

Watching Randy Wolf pitch, viewers certainly won't be wowed by any one particular thing he does.

Rarely does Wolf light up the radar gun, and he's lucky if he can collect more than a handful of strikeouts. He doesn't overpower, nor does he overwhelm much of anyone at the plate.

Yet, there Wolf was on Thursday afternoon, putting together his second quality start for the Detroit Tigers since being picked up a week ago. Though run support was a problem again, pitching was not.

Wolf gave the Tigers something which has become increasingly rare for the team in 2015: a chance to win. He pitched through seven strong innings with only one run allowed. Along the way, he befuddled the Angels batters with his soft tossing, leading to five strikeouts, several of which came looking.

It's tough for a lineup to deal with the change that Wolf brings. Anymore, lineups are used to seeing pitchers trying to blow them away, so when a pitcher such as Wolf that excels upon command around the plate comes calling, it can make life difficult for hungry hitters looking for the next meaty fastball or juicy hanging breaking ball.

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Detroit Tigers Dazzled by Matt Shoemaker, Who Spins One-Hit Gem for Los Angeles Angels

August 27th, 2015 at 4:30 PM
By Max DeMara

DETROIT — Inspired by a trip back to his home state, Matt Shoemaker dazzled in his debut off the disabled list.

The Wyandotte, Michigan native and Eastern Michigan University alumni only allowed one hit and no runs while striking out five. He kept the Detroit Tigers off balance all afternoon, and the Angels got just enough offense to win a close 2-0 battle.

For the first five innings, hits were difficult to come by let alone runs for both teams. The Angels were being stymied by Randy Wolf, while the Tigers could get nothing done with Matt Shoemaker. The latter would be a theme as the day progressed.

Finally, the Angels drew first blood on the scoreboard in the sixth, getting tow walks from Kole Calhoun and Mike Trout. Albert Pujols brought home the first run of the game with a single, and Los Angeles led 1-0.

Detroit couldn't touch Shoemaker the rest of the way, only collecting two baserunners off of him in seven innings pitched. J.D. Martinez greeted his replacement Joe Smith with a triple, but the next two batters failed to plate him, and the Angels kept their lead. They padded it in the ninth with a sacrifice fly from Shane Victorino.

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Justin Verlander Gives Detroit Tigers Hopeful Glimpse Toward 2016 with Elite Performance

August 27th, 2015 at 10:44 AM
By Max DeMara

DETROIT — Wednesday night was seen as Justin Verlander's coming back party, when realistically, the pitcher had been planting seeds of a gem for weeks.

The fact that Verlander — the now on-again, off-again ace of the Tigers' rotation — took a no-hitter into the ninth inning and flirted with history was remarkable given where he's been. From injuries to inconsistencies thereafter, there's been a worry that Verlander would never again be his old self.

Recently, though, the signs have been there. In every start since July 24, Verlander has gone at least six innings. He's only given up more than one run in a start once (against the Kansas City Royals). Over that span, he's had more strikeouts than walks in every single start, and been able to go well over 100 pitches, showing he's still a workhorse.

Additionally, the velocity is back. Verlander appeared to get stronger as the game went on, which is another old hallmark. Late, he showed an ability to change speeds effortlessly while still touching 96 and 97 on the radar gun.

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Justin Verlander Flirts with Third Career No-Hitter as Detroit Tigers Thump Los Angeles Angels

August 26th, 2015 at 10:58 PM
By Max DeMara

DETROIT —For nine full innings, the magic was back. Justin Verlander could feel it in the crowd, and the 31,938 fans in attendance at Comerica Park could feel it in their pitcher once again.

As the innings flew by, it became clear there was another chance at history. A no-hitter was firmly in play in Detroit, the fifth of this baseball season and the third of Verlander's career.

But Chris Iannetta had something to say in that fateful ninth inning. The Los Angeles catcher roped a perfectly placed hit down the left field line that barely landed fair. Instead of a no-hitter, Verlander would have to settle for a one-hitter, and a 5-0 win over the Los Angeles Angels.

Unlike other times this season, run support was not an issue for Verlander, as the Tigers got him a run in the second courtesy of Nick Castellanos, who continued his hot hitting by rocking a home run over the bullpen for the 1-0 lead. With Verlander dominating on the mound, that would be plenty to hold the Tigers over until a loud fifth inning.

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