Verlander hopes to give Tigers series win at Colorado (Aug 30, 2017)

BY AP • August 30, 2017

DENVER -- The Tigers, whose struggles on the road have been monumental, will try to win a road series Wednesday when they play the rubber game against the Colorado Rockies, and Detroit will send ace Justin Verlander to the mound.

Verlander (9-8, 3.90 ERA) will be opposed by Colorado's Chad Bettis (0-1, 3.79).

Verlander is 2-0 with 1.99 ERA in three career starts against the Rockies and 1-0 in one start at Coors Field, where he threw a complete game and gave up one run on June 19, 2011.

In his most recent start, the right-hander was not involved in the decision at Chicago on Friday. He limited the White Sox to six hits and two runs in seven innings with two walks and eight strikeouts.

Verlander, 34, has given up three or fewer runs in nine of his past 10 starts, going 4-3 with a 2.38 ERA in that stretch. He allowed 48 hits in 68 innings with 19 walks and 75 strikeouts in that span.

On Friday, Verlander twice hit 98 mph with his fastball in his final inning after that pitch was clocked at 93-96 mph in the first few innings.

"He's proven me wrong," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "I didn't think his velocity would get back up to where it was, but he can reach back and get 97, 98 (mph). It's impressive. He's a little bit of a freak of nature in that sense. He's really been one of just a handful of guys you see over the course of their careers who hold their velocity."

The Tigers are 26-42 on the road this season. They began the year 6-6 away from Detroit but have lost 36 of the past 56 games away from home since May 6. During that stretch, they are 3-11-4 in their past 18 road series.

Bettis, who has never faced the Tigers, will be making his fourth start since recovering from surgery last fall for testicular cancer followed by nine weeks of chemotherapy in the spring after the cancer spread to his lymph nodes.

Bettis is 0-0 with a 1.93 ERA in two starts at Coors Field this season. Two of his first three starts were against the Braves, including his last outing Friday at Atlanta, his only road appearance. Bettis lost that game 5-2, giving up six hits and five runs in five innings. He yielded a two-run homer in the first inning to Matt Kemp and a solo homer in a three-run second to Kurt Suzuki.

"With the exception of a few pitches last week in Atlanta, I've seen a good-located fastball," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "He keeps the ball down very well. That's what has stood out to me. Both the fastball and change are down. In Atlanta, there were a couple pitches that he threw up that got hit.

"The curveball comes into play a little bit. It's part of his mix. I think he uses it wisely. There's a little cutter in there that I like if used in the right spots to the right hitters. But I've been impressed with the fastball-change combination. And the fastball location and the changeup anytime, any count to any hitter is what's stood out to me."

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