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Game Thread: August 26, 2006

Detroit at Cleveland, 7:05 PM (STO)

Starting Pitchers:

Cleveland: Jake Westbrook (10-8, 4.18 ERA)
Detroit: Justin Verlander (15-6, 3.05 ERA)

The last couple weeks have been an oasis of good baseball in this desert of a season, thanks mostly to performances from rookies like Jeremy Sowers and Ryan Garko. Sowers has been even better than advertised; last night, he allowed two early runs, but didn't panic and try to go outside his comfort zone.

Like Sowers, Verlander has entered unknown territory as far as innings go; he's already thrown 30 more innings than he did last year. But the Tigers' lead isn't as safe as was just two weeks ago, so Jim Leyland has to balance long-term and short-term success the rest of the way.