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Indians vs. Tigers Game Thread (Thursday): Do not miss Salazar and Verlander throw down

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Today we witness one of the most eagerly anticipated early-season pitching matchups between our young flamethrower Danny Salazar and the Tigers' veteran ace Justin Verlander.

Jonathan Daniel

Cleveland Indians @ Detroit Tigers

Thursday, April 17, 2014 (1:08 ET)

TV: STO (Cle), FSD (Det), MLBN Free Game Of The Day (Both)

Radio: WTAM (Cle), WXYT (Det)

Series Preview
Q&A with Bless You Boys

Today's Lineups

CLEVELAND INDIANS DETROIT TIGERS
Michael Bourn - CF Ian Kinsler - 2B
Nick Swisher - 1B Torii Hunter - RF
Jason Kipnis - 2B Miguel Cabrera - 1B
Carlos Santana - 3B Victor Martinez - DH
Michael Brantley - LF Austin Jackson - CF
Asdrubal Cabrera - SS Nick Castellanos - 3B
David Murphy - RF Alex Avila - C
Yan Gomes - C Alex Gonzalez - SS
Lonnie Chisenhall - DH Rajai Davis - LF
Danny Salazar - RHP Justin Verlander - RHP

The Indians drew first blood in the series against the Tigers last night, dispatching Detroit 3-2 thanks largely to Zach McAllister putting in a sterling display. Z-Mac went 6 innings and gave up just 1 run, 2 walks, and struck out 4 on his way to a well-earned win.

This afternoon features a mouth-watering duel between Danny Salazar and Justin Verlander. Salazar has had a rocky start to 2014 but has shown flashes of the enormous potential we all know he has. In his last start against Chicago on April 10th, Salazar struck out 10 batters in just 3.2 innings. Unfortunately he was roughed up for 5 runs in that short outing, so hopefully we see a more consistent and well-rounded display today. Verlander on the other hand has gotten off to a strong start with a 2.57 ERA over his first three games (21 innings).

Carlos Santana is back at third base after he performed DH duties yesterday. Santana has recently admitted that his offensive struggles this year are partly due to changing positions and all the adjustments that come with such a move. Maybe now he's back on the field it can have a positive effect and he can break out of this ugly slump he's in. He's overdue a good day at the plate.

Today's other AL Central games:

Twins (Kyle Gibson) vs. Blue Jays (R.A. Dickey), 1:10 ET

Twins (Mike Pelfrey) vs. Blue Jays (Dustin McGowan), 7:10 ET

White Sox (Chris Sale) vs. Red Sox (Jon Lester), 8:10 ET

Royals (James Shields) @ Astros (Scott Feldman), 8:10 ET

Today's Indians minor-league affiliate games:

AAA: Columbus Clippers (T.J. House) @ Toledo, 6:30 ET

AA: Akron RubberDucks (Will Roberts) @ Bowie, 6:35 ET

A+: Carolina Mudcats (Cole Sulser) vs. Salem, 7:00 ET

A-: Lake County (Adam Plutko) vs. Burlington, 6:30 ET