9/17: Open Game Thread

Leon Halip

Brandon Maurer vs. Anibal Sanchez

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Coupling their 4-2 win yesterday with a Cleveland loss in Kansas City, the Tigers now sit six games above their closest division rival, with just twelve contests to play. That's not quite an insurmountable lead, but it's close and the Tigers appear to have comfortably wrapped up the American League Central for the third consecutive year. If it's a playoff race you're seeking, you might consider turning your attention towards Tampa Bay and Kansas City this evening.

Over here, Brandon Maurer will make his second start since re-entering the rotation earlier this month. Like his most recent outing, it's an assignment necessitated by Felix Hernandez's lingering back issues. Unlike last time, when Maurer had the relatively manageable job of facing Houston at home, tonight he'll oppose Detroit's league leading offense in hitter-friendly Comerica Park. The Tigers lead all of baseball in wRC+, have scored more often than anyone besides Boston, and are among the circuit's top five in most major offensive categories. Jim Leyland didn't exactly roll out the jayvee team either, so this could be a long night for Maurer.

He'll be opposed by Anibal Sanchez. Freed from near obscurity in Miami at the trade deadline last year, the twenty-nine year old right-hander has been brilliant since joining the Tigers. Though he wasn't rewarded with an all-star appearance this year, Sanchez has among the best pitchers in all of baseball, turning the rare trick of simultaneously posting the highest strike out ratio of his career while reducing his walk rate without sacrificing ground balls. He leads the American League in ERA, FIP, and is third in xFIP. I know #ycpb, but this one has a chance to get ugly.

Lineups:

Abraham Almonte 8
Franklin Gutierrez 9
Kyle Seager 5
Raul Ibanez DH
Justin Smoak 3
Michael Saunders 7
Mike Zunino 2
Nick Franklin 4
Carlos Triunfel 6

Brandon Maurer 1

Austin Jackson 8
Torii Hunter 9
Miguel Cabrera 5
Prince Fielder 3
Don Kelly 7
Omar Infante 4
Alex Avila 2
Jose Iglesias 6

Anibal Sanchez 1

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