Danny Haren has a tough assignment, trying to keep the A's 5-2 road trip moving forward. Haren is opposed by Justin Verlander--he of the high-90s fastball, 2.83 season ERA, and recent stretch of 1 ER over his last 22 IP. At some point, Verlander may go through the dead-arm stage rookies face when they throw a full major-league season for the first time, but at 117.2 IP coming into tonight's start, Verlander isn't there yet.
You won't find much statistical hope, in general, for teams trying to hit Verlander or beat Detroit, but in two starts against the A's this year Verlander is 0-1, and Oakland took two of three against Detroit on the last homestand. That's why you play the games.
Tonight's "fun fact": Though Placido Polanco is hitting .409 (9/22) this year against the A's, Oakland pitchers are in fact making progress, as for his career Polanco is 26/58 (.448) against A's pitching. Ouch.
Tonight's starting lineups: