The Detroit Tigers have won ten games in a row and now have a five-game lead over the Cleveland Indians in the AL Central. They've been in control of the division for most of the year and have done so without Justin Verlander putting up the numbers we've come to expect from one of the game’s best. Verlander claims to be completely healthy and has simply been fighting with his mechanics. Even so, Verlander owns a 3.73 ERA and 1.36 WHIP with 145 strikeouts over 151.7 IP. He improved to 12 – 8 on Tuesday as he turned in what might well have been his best start of the season, striking out seven, walking none and allowing just one run on four hits over eight solid innings. Verlander attributed his success to the discovery of a flaw in his delivery after watching tape from 2011. Pitchers are quirky folks, so whatever he thinks he figured out is A-OK with fantasy owners, as long as he pitches like this next time out. Next up, he’ll take on Andy Pettitte and the Yankees on Sunday.
Sleeper Wednesday: Bullish on Dozier
Twins leadoff hitter Brian Dozier (2B/SS eligible) had a hell of a game on Tuesday going 2-for-4 with his 10th HR, driving in three runs on the night. Dozier now has multi-hit games in three of his last five, and has a semi-productive stat line for anyone looking for middle infield help. Dozier’s average is currently at .236 but he does have those 10 homers to go along with 43 RBI and eight SB. Dozier did have 28 steals in the minors before his callup in May. He’s only scored 47 runs, however he hasn't been the leadoff hitter all season. He’s not going to be an offensive stud like Jason Kipnis, but Dozier does a little bit of everything which obviously can be of service if you've just lost Jhonny Peralta or were using Jordany Valdespin for some reason in deep leagues?
AL Hot Shots
- Miguel Cabrera was 2-for-4 with a double and his 100th RBI of the season, his first RBI since July 27,
- Chris Davis was 1-for-4 with an RBI single and two strikeouts in the Orioles win Tuesday.
- Don Kelly was 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBI on Tuesday. He doesn’t start enough to warrant fantasy ownership, though.
- Justin Masterson was good on Tuesday except for one inning in which the Tigers put up a five-spot. He struck out six, allowed seven hits with two walks. He will look to bounce back against the Angels on Sunday.
- Bud Norris limited the Padres to one run on five hits over six strong innings to pick up his second straight victory for the Orioles. Norris is now 8-9 on the year with a 3.78 ERA and he has to be happy to be on a winning club for once.
- Josh Johnson decided to pitch decently on Tuesday. He only lasted five innings, but he did strike out five and didn't allow a run. He dropped his ERA to 6.20 on the year with the win (his first since June 23).
- Brett Lawrie continues to rake as he was 2-for-4 with an RBI, stolen base and a run scored. Since returning from the disabled list July 13, Lawrie is batting .293 with a .533 slugging percentage and .883 OPS in 21 games.
- Yu Darvish earned his 11th victory of the season, defeating the Angels on Tuesday. Darvish struck out only six over seven innings, allowing three ER.
- Tanner Scheppers earned a two inning save as the Rangers posted four runs in the top of the ninth so Joe Nathan got the night off and Scheppers went back out for the last three outs of the game. Scheppers, although, looked great and may be option #1 if Nathan were to get injured.
- Desmond Jennings may be able to return when eligible, which is good news for owners who may have feared an extended absence.
- Howie Kendrick escaped a scare as his knee showed no structural damage. He will still be out a few days and a DL stint remains possible.
NL Hot Shots
- Kyle Kendrick improved to 12-8 with a win over the Cubs on Tuesday. He got plenty of run support as the Phillies lead 9-5 going into the ninth. They went on to win 9-8. It wasn't pretty for Kendrick as he allowed four runs in the second inning.
- Bryce Harper homered in his second at-bat off of Julio Teheran, then took offense when Teheran plunked him in the following at-bat. Benches cleared but there was nothing to see. It was a clown brawl bro.
- Julio Teheran struck out four and allowed one run to win his ninth decision as the Braves held onto a measly 2-1 lead thanks to the Nationals being owned by the Braves bullpen. The Nats have not scored on the Braves' bullpen thus far in 2013.
- Andrew McCutchen continues to be the catalyst for the Pirates as he was 2-for-3 with a two RBI double, a run scored and a walk on Tuesday. Cutch is on fire in August, batting .600 with five RBI, four walks, four runs scored and three doubles in five games.
- Josh Harrison played the hero as he took Mike Dunn deep for a pinch-hit walk off homer to propel the Buccos to a 4-3 win.
- Jay Bruce hit his 23rd homer of the season as the Reds topped the Athletics. Mat Latos was decent allowing four hits and issuing three free passes, but the A’s couldn't capitalize and ended up not scoring until Derek Norris hit a 2 out 3-2 pitch from Aroldis Chapman over the fence for his eighth homer of the season. Chapman would get the next out to secure his 26th save.
- LaTroy Hawkins notched a save as Bobby Parnell was placed on the DL with a disk issue in his neck. The Mets plan to use a closer-by-committee approach which sucks. I see David Aardsma as the favorite for saves as Hawkins is 40 years old and has not fared well as a closer.
- Carlos Beltran and Matt Adams powered the Cardinals past the Dodgers on Tuesday ending the Dodgers 15-game road winning streak. Both homered off of Brandon “Minor” League in the eighth. Joe Kelly allowed just one run over 5.1 IP for the W.
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Follow Shawn Caswell on Twitter, or don’t: @CasKnowsRoto