A finger problem won't keep Justin Verlander from trying to help the Detroit Tigers record a season-high fifth straight victory.
The star right-hander doesn't seem too concerned about taking the mound Tuesday night when he tries to extend his recent dominance over the visiting Minnesota Twins.
Verlander (2-2, 1.95 ERA) allowed two runs and eight hits against Kansas City on Thursday, but left with a 3-2 lead after the seventh inning with what appeared to be a blister on his pitching thumb. Detroit's bullpen gave up the tying run in the eighth and five in the 10th of an 8-3 loss.
Verlander, meanwhile, doesn't think it will be an issue.
"It developed a little in my last start. Started getting a little bit worse after the fifth, and I started to notice it,' Verlander said. "I didn't want to risk it becoming something that I might have to deal with in my next start and the start after that, and then it turns into a month. This way, it isn't an issue. That's why I got out of there.'
The problem was later deemed a crack in the skin near his fingernail.
"He's dealt with it before," head athletic trainer Kevin Rand told the Tigers' official website. "Basically, it's a crack in the skin just like regular people working outside. Unfortunately, the location of it in the thumb area caused him to not be able to pitch coming out in the eighth inning."
Of more concern for Verlander and manager Jim Leyland might be the play of his teammates when their ace pitches. In addition to the bullpen's struggles in his last appearance, Detroit (14-10) has been shut out in two others.
Verlander has not needed much support while winning seven straight starts against the Twins (11-11) and has gone 8-0 with a 1.71 ERA in nine since a 2-0 loss to them at Comerica Park on April 27, 2010. He allowed four hits and struck out seven in five scoreless innings of a 4-2 season-opening win at Minnesota.
Twins star Joe Mauer is a lifetime .373 hitter with three homers against Verlander. However, he's gone hitless (0 for 19) in five straight games for first time during his stellar career after an 0-for-4 effort in Monday's 4-3 loss to the Tigers.
Prince Fielder hit a towering three-run homer in the sixth to help rally his team from down two runs in the series opener. Miguel Cabrera, who hit a three-run homer in Sunday's 8-3 win to complete a sweep of Atlanta, had his 12-game hitting streak snapped.
Fielder is 3 for 20 (.150) in his last six games but batting .343 (12 for 35) with three home runs and 12 RBIs in 10 games against the Twins at Comerica.
He's 2 for 6 with a double against scheduled Minnesota starter Vance Worley (0-3, 6.38), who allowed three runs in six innings of the opening-day loss to Verlander.
The right-hander gave up 14 runs in six innings over his next two starts but has yielded three in 12 frames of the last two. He allowed two runs in five innings of a 2-1 loss to Texas on Thursday.
"Worley's had a couple starts where he didn't look like he had a whole heck of a lot, but he made it through five innings just by battling," manager Ron Gardenhire told the Twins' official website.
Worley is 0-6 with a 6.56 ERA in 10 starts since he won at Washington on Aug. 1 while with Philadelphia.
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