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Rain washes out Tigers' opener vs. Twins

Rain washes out opener vs. Twins

DETROIT -- The Tigers and Twins no longer have to watch the scoreboard to figure out where they stand in the American League Central. Instead, they had to spend Monday watching the radar as Michigan took a rough transition to fall weather.

The four-day clash to help decide the division is now down to a four-game, three-day series, starting with a day-night doubleheader Tuesday, after a line of showers and storms stretching across the state washed out Monday's opener of the Tigers' critical series against the Twins at Comerica Park.

Tickets for Monday's game can only be used for Tuesday's first game, scheduled to start at 12:05 p.m. ET. Tickets for Tuesday's game will be good only for the 7:05 nightcap as originally scheduled.

Neither pitching matchup has changed. Tigers rookie Rick Porcello will still face Twins right-hander Nick Blackburn as had been scheduled for the opener; they'll simply be moved back to Tuesday afternoon. Detroit ace Justin Verlander remains on schedule for his rematch with Minnesota on Tuesday night opposite lefty Brian Duensing.

Nevertheless, the twin bill adds yet another subplot to a series that's expected to go a long way toward deciding the division.

The Tigers have their two hottest starters going in the first two games. Now that Porcello's start has been pushed back a day, Detroit has a decision to make with its rotation for his next turn, which would come Saturday in what will be a critical weekend unless the club can take three of four and clinch in this series.

Porcello would've been on track to start Saturday against the White Sox, but he would now have to start that on short rest, an unlikely situation for a 20-year-old rookie whose innings workload has been closely watched all year. Manager Jim Leyland could choose to start Verlander on three days' rest instead, something he hasn't done this year but could do out of necessity.

The alternative would involve plucking someone out of the bullpen for the assignment, which could conceivably be suddenly resurgent long reliever Zach Miner.

For now, Leyland wasn't talking about his matchups. The Tigers' clubhouse remained closed after the rainout announcement.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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