For the last two weeks, the Tigers win/loss ratio has reached a dismal 5/11. Yes, the team has reached the epitome of another down season to this point, however they have shown some promise the last four ballgames, bashing 13 hits on Sunday’s series finale in Baltimore, 14 against the Twins on Monday, 10 last night and 13 more this afternoon en route to 6-5, 10-8, 7-3 and 6-3 wins. Through three of these last four wins, Detroit’s home record has gone from an appalling 5-9 to a more modest and much less blemished 8-9 record. With the series against the worst team in the American League now over, the Tigers are set to host the Tampa Bay Rays, who currently is the exact definition of mediocre with a 19-19 record. The task of winning will still be quite the challenge given the fact that the Rays are flying into tonight’s series coming off two 17 hit games of double digit runs apiece to tag LHP J.A. Happ and righty Marcus Stroman with their first losses of the season. The series will begin on tonight at Comerica, with the Tigers set to pitch Anibal Sanchez (3-4, 5.91 ERA), Michael Fulmer (2-1, 6.52 ERA), and Jordan Zimmermann (6-2, 2.45 ERA).
Things to look for in the opener tonight:
J.D. Martinez’s bat has been just as inconsistent as his ballclub. Fortunately, the Tigers slugger has fully come to life to reconcile the broken pieces of the potential-ridden lineup, posting a 9-for-16 run with three homers and five RBI over Detroit’s most recent four game win streak. He will be matched against Steven Souza Jr. of the Rays, who has similar power numbers and batting average. Both outfielders are riding a heated stretch as we coast into the dog days.
RHP Matt Andriese (2-0, 0.56 ERA) has allowed one earned run over 16 innings in two dominant starts this season. He heads to the mound tonight coming off a two-hit shutout at home against the Oakland A’s and hopes to ride that success into the Motor City against a potent offensive force.
Cameron Maybin has certainly set off quite the spark since returning to the big leagues, making a quick name for himself both on the field and in the Tigers’ clubhouse. He has proven to add much more to the club than an extra outfield body. Is it the experienced bat? The defensive skills? The pure smile? The dreads? The vital joyfulness/positivity he adds to this team? Whatever it is, it has proven to work on this ballclub, who is now 3-0 with Maybin in the lineup. Cam has taken advantage of the seven spot that Brad Ausmus rightfully gave him, going 5-for-9 with an RBI and three runs scored.