Good Thursday morning. Two games into this Indians series things have gone about as bad as could be expected. But take heart, tonight there’s J.V.
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Leading Off: If Tuesday night/Wednesday morning’s gut-wrenching loss to the Indians was bad, Wednesday evening’s 10-3 destruction was insulting. Rick Porcello’s teammates scratched across three runs in the fourth inning to make it a one run game. And he proceeded to give back four in the bottom half. His final line: 3 2/3 IP, 11 hits, 8 earned runs. David Pauley wasn’t much better, surrendering 6 hits in 2 2/3. On the bright side, Wilson Betemit went two for three.

Around the Central: The Orioles beat the White Sox 6-4 in 10 innings; Tampa Bay beat the Royals 8-7; and, the Red Sox beat the Twins, 5-2.

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The Tigers are in first place, two games ahead of the Indians.

Today’s Game: Justin Verlander (16-5, 2.30 ERA) vs. Fausto Carmona (5-11, 5.19 ERA) | 7:05 p.m. – FSD/1270 AM and 97.1 FM

Verlander is 11-11, 4.82 ERA in 25 career starts against the Indians … He’s 7-1 with a 2.54 ERA and 92 strikeouts over his last 10 starts versus Cleveland dating back to May 3, 2009 … Verlander’s 8-1 with a 2.36 ERA in his previous nine starts against division opponents.

Verlander looks to become the 16th pitcher in Tigers history to register 100 wins with the club. Tonight is the 191st start of his career and with a win he would become the fastest Tigers pitcher to reach 100 wins since Denny McLain did so in the 189th outing (181st start) of his career on June 16, 1969 at Yankee Stadium.

Happy 51st Birthday to Al Pedrique. He played 31 games for the 1989 Tigers, hitting .203.

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Dave Schoenfield thinks Tuesday night’s win by the Indians was huge no matter what the calendar says.

Psychologically, the Indians entered the game with a 54-54 record. A loss would knock them under .500 for the first time since they opened the season with two defeats.

Must win? Maybe not. But as Nuke LaLoosh might say, the Indians needed to play this game with fear and ignorance — the fear of losing but with ignorance about the pressure of the game’s importance.

ESPN is running a Dog Days of Summer series on the MLB page, looking closely at the contenders — at least as of today. This morning’s installment features the Tigers and a few words from yours truly.

Second guessing. Last night I listened to Jim Leyland‘s pre-game show with Jim Price (something I rarely catch) and it was interesting to hear Leyland address head-on some of the decisions he made on Tuesday night. I might not agree with some of his moves, but I enjoyed listening to him explain his thought process.

Speaking of second guessing, Lynn Henning this morning dives deep into popular Tigers debates.

And one more from ESPN: Page Two interviewed Al Kaline:

[T]here are still baseball memories to be made for Kaline, 76, who joined the Tigers’ front office in 2001 after working 26 seasons as a broadcaster for the club.

Kaline enjoyed one of those moments Monday, when he threw out the ceremonial first pitch for the minor league Connecticut Tigers to his grandson Colin, a rookie second baseman with the team.

The elder Kaline delivered a strike, drawing cheers from the 2,326 in attendance at Dodd Stadium.

“It’s always a special moment when you get to do something like that with a grandparent,” said Colin Kaline. “I’m just lucky to get to do it in front of a lot of people.”

David Purcey is heading to Toledo.

Finally, Happy 57th Birthday to singer Joe Jackson.