ON DECK: Tigers continue AL Central play with visit from Twins

The bats for the Detroit Tigers were held in check once more this past weekend at home against the Cleveland Indians, albeit against one of the sport’s better starting staffs. The day off on Monday was much-needed as well for the team as the weekend series with the Tribe wrapped up a stretch in which they played 18 games in 17 days, including the last eight in seven days against two other American Leaguer superpowers, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

UP NEXT

The Tigers (31-36) will resume play Tuesday night at home as they close out a six-game homestand by continuing a stretch of playing three straight divisional foes. The Minnesota Twins (28-34) will make their first visit to Comerica Park.

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It has been nearly a month since Detroit saw the Twinkies back in late May. Many are wondering if Minnesota is going to figure it out and make a more serious run at a playoff bid sooner than later but that just has not been the case as of late. Since taking two of three from the Tigers last month, the Twins have won just one of their last five series (7-10 overall in that stretch), including this past weekend at home against the Los Angeles Angels.

PITCHING MATCHUPS

Game 1 | Jake Odorizzi (Twins) vs. Blaine Hardy (Tigers)

This will be the Tigers’ first look at right-hander Jake Odorizzi (3-3, 4.24 ERA) this season. The 28-year-old was acquired via trade in the offseason from the Tampa Bay Rays and is under team control through the 2019 campaign. Minnesota would like to see Odorizzi turn it around here (the Tigers prefer otherwise), his ERA is well over 8.00 over his last three starts, inflated by a May 31 outing against the Indians in which he allowed eight earned over just 3.2 innings. Odorizzi does carry some solid numbers in his career against Detroit, a 2.28 ERA in four starts.

Lefty Blaine Hardy (2-1, 3.66 ERA) turned in his first real hiccup as a start last week at Fenway against the Red Sox, one of the more potent lineups in all of baseball this year. Still, Hardy was able to muscle out six innings for the Tigers, yielding five runs to Boston. He will now take the ball against the Twins for the second time this season. His second career start earlier this year came in Minnesota, in which he tossed five innings of two-run ball.

Game 2 | José Berríos (Twins) vs. Matthew Boyd (Tigers)

José Berríos (7-5, 3.66 ERA) continues to mold into one of the game’s bright young hurlers, which is not going to bode well for the Tigers or the rest of the AL Central moving forward. Detroit, however, had him on the ropes early in the first meeting against him back on May 21. The Tigers had two runs through three frames, but the 24-year-old retired 16 of the final 17 batters he faced for a strong eight-inning performance. Berríos has been exceptional as of late (3.22 ERA in last three starts), fresh off a two-run complete game against the Chicago White Sox.

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Matthew Boyd (4-4, 3.20 ERA) checked off a huge box in his last start against Boston, holding the Sox hitters to just two runs over 6.1 innings of work, despite issuing four free passes. It was the second straight outing in which Boyd pitched at least into the seventh inning; sixth time overall this season. He now gets a second look at the Twins, after departing his previous start against them prematurely with an oblique spasm. Boyd in that game lasted just four innings plus two batters in the fifth (both of whom came around to score after he exited).

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Game 3 | Lance Lynn (Twins) vs. Michael Fulmer (Tigers)

Lance Lynn (4-4, 5.08 ERA) seems to have finally figured things out after a rocky start to the season. The recently-turned 31-year-old had an ERA well over 7.00 through his first eight starts prior to a home outing against the Tigers. Since then, however, it sits at 1.46 over the previous four times out for Lynn. That was jump-started by 6.2 scoreless innings against Detroit the last time these two teams met. Opponents are also slugging just .236 during this recent four-game stretch for Lynn.

The last start for Michael Fulmer (2-5, 4.40 ERA) was a welcomed one, to say the least. Fulmer limited a good-hitting Indians club to just one run on five hits, allowing no walks and no homers over seven innings. It was the deepest he had gone into a game since way back on April 20 against the Kansas City Royals. Can Fulmer continue to work that ERA down to under 4.00 and show progress? This will also be his second start against the Twins; he went 5.2 innings of one-run ball against them back on May 23, needing a season-high 112 pitches to do so.

HITTERS TO WATCH

We here at DSN do not advise kicking a man while he is down but it would be best to keep Miguel Sanó in check, or at least continue to do so. The Tigers did not see Sanó in their first meeting with the Twins as he was on the disabled list and missed about a month. He actually returned right after Detroit left town and has struggled to get going (.197 BA and .623 OPS in 15 games), striking out at an alarming rate as well (27 K over last 61 ABs).

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It is time to see the big fella get going. Miguel Cabrera has been ‘eh’ since coming off the DL earlier this month. He is hitting .250 (11 for 40) in those 11 games, with only two extra-base hits. He has yet to leave the yard since returning and that drought extends all the way back to April 28 against the Baltimore Orioles at home… huh? Miggy, do us all a favor and go bridge a couple times in this series, inject some more life into this offense, please?

SERIES INFO

  • Game 1 | Tue, June 12 @ 7:10 p.m. ET
  • Game 2 | Wed, June 13 @ 7:10 p.m. ET
  • Game 3 | Thu, June 14 @ 1:10 p.m. ET

All games can be seen on Fox Sports Detroit unless otherwise noted. Be sure to check your local listings for regional radio broadcasts.

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