Justin Verlander didn't want to spend too much time looking at video or tweaking his mechanics after one of the worst starts of his impressive career Thursday.
Instead, he put in a little extra work on the mound to prepare for Wednesday's matchup with Ubaldo Jimenez and the American League Central-leading Indians at Progressive Field.
After giving up eight runs in 2 2/3 innings against the Rangers his last time out, Verlander utilized an extra day between starts and threw two side sessions over the weekend in Texas to try to nail down his mechanics and regain some degree of consistency in his fastball command. Verlander said the extra work went "all right," and he'd withhold final judgment until after Wednesday's start.
"What he's starting to do right now is just repeat his delivery, hit the location, especially with his fastball. Because, to me, his breaking stuff and his changeup have been really good," Tigers pitching coach Jeff Jones said. "It's just been mostly fastball location, trying to make sure he does the same thing with his body.
"Everybody goes through a little something from time to time. I think we're kind of spoiled that he hasn't gone through very much in quite a while. Everybody goes through stuff and looks at stuff, and then try to make adjustments. Usually, during the season, you're making small adjustments, and that's basically what we're doing."
Verlander had his share of difficulties in his last start against the Tribe on May 11, walking five and allowing four runs (three earned) in five innings. This could be a big start for Verlander and the Tigers, as they look to build on Tuesday's 5-1 win, slow down the streaking Indians and regain some ground in the AL Central in the finale of this two-game series. But Cleveland has plenty on the line, as well.
The Indians won five in a row before losing Tuesday's opener, and they've still won 18 of their past 23. They can keep the Tigers at bay and send a message to the rest of the AL Central by salvaging a series split, and Jimenez can try to prove that his recent success is more than just a hot streak.
Jimenez is 3-0 with a 1.90 over his past four appearances, and he has at least eight strikeouts in three straight starts, including a season-high nine Friday against Seattle. He's nearly cut his ERA in half since April 21, and that stretch included a victory against the Tigers on May 11, when he allowed one run in six innings, also opposite Verlander.
Jimenez managed to hold Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera to just one single in that game. He'd probably feel fortunate to do the same Wednesday considering what the reigning Triple Crown winner is capable of at the plate.
Cabrera homered Tuesday, giving him four in his past two games.
"I mean, pretty special hitter," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. "The problem with it is, there's times you have to pitch with him, there's times you have to get him out. There's times where you'll take a single, as opposed to [not] keeping it in the ballpark. Because I guarantee, if you pitch around him all day, they're going to score."
Tigers: Dotel back on schedule
• Octavio Dotel is once again throwing on schedule as he works his way back from elbow inflammation, which has sidelined him for a month. The Tigers shut down Dotel more than a week ago, when he felt some discomfort while throwing. He went on a six-day medication cycle and is now throwing without pain at the Tigers' Spring Training complex in Florida.
Dotel will eventually have to work his way through a Minor League rehab assignment, so his return is not imminent. Detroit has struggled to fill his middle-relief role.
• Al Alburquerque has reported to Triple-A Toledo after being optioned last Wednesday. He wasn't with the Mud Hens this weekend, as he had to attend to a personal matter in the Dominican Republic.
• Brayan Villarreal, also with the Mud Hens, is working on repeating his delivery from inning to inning. He has put together consecutive strong outings after walking the bases loaded last Thursday.
Indians: Perez deletes Twitter account
• Closer Chris Perez deleted his @ChrisPerez54 Twitter account after two rough outings and issued a statement saying he did so to "minimize any potential off-the-field distractions" and focus more on the Indians and their "shared goals moving forward."
"I don't know about it being a good idea or a bad idea," Francona said. "I understand his reasoning was to focus more on what we're doing. So I thought his thought process was really good. I don't think I've looked at a Twitter in my life. I don't even know if I know how. But I like his reasoning, so I'm cool with it."
• Nick Swisher and his wife, JoAnna, welcomed a daughter into their family, and Swisher was placed on the paternity leave list Tuesday, meaning he'll miss one to three games. In the meantime, Cleveland recalled infielder Cord Phelps from Triple-A Columbus.
Francona slotted Michael Brantley in the cleanup spot for Tuesday's game, so the left fielder has appeared in every spot in the order through 43 games this season. Brantley drove in the lone Indians run Tuesday, hitting a sacrifice fly in the first.
• Cabrera's sixth-inning homer Tuesday night was his 12th of the season and the 333rd of his career, which gave him sole possession of the 100th spot on the list of all-time home run leaders.
• The Indians have gone 18-8 this season in games following a win and 7-10 after a loss.