ON DECK: Tigers continue homestand with a visit from the Orioles

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Mother Nature is a total b—- once more. Inclement weather throughout the entire state of Michigan during the weekend washed out the final two games between the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers, leaving both teams to use highly-coveted off days down the road to make up said rainouts.

In their lone matchup of the weekend with New York, Detroit endured a pair of five-run deficits and nearly made a comeback late. Unfortunately, the 8-6 loss gave the Tigers a fifth straight decision in the loss column.

UP NEXT

After an off day on Monday (probably a good thing, considering the possibility of more rain/snow in the forecast). Detroit will continue their 10-game homestand with three games against the Baltimore Orioles.

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It’s been a rough go of it for the Orioles to start the season, losing 11 of their first 16 games, all coming against playoff-caliber clubs. And it’s been a little bit of everything going badly for Baltimore, as they rank in the bottom five in all of baseball in batting average (.222 – 26th), on-base percentage (.292 – 27th), team ERA (4.86 – 26th), and opponent batting average (.266 – 28th).

Fasten your seatbelt, Nation. This could be a rough three games to watch.

PITCHING MATCHUPS

GAME 1 | Kevin Gausman (Orioles) vs. Francisco Liriano (Tigers)

Kevin Gausman (1-1, 6.60 ERA) is one hurler that Baltimore would love to see get going sooner than later. The hard-throwing righty turned in a promising campaign in 2016 when he posted a 3.61 ERA in 30 starts. Gausman, however, added over a full run to that mark in 2017 and has been knocked around some early this year.

He also has a bit of a roller coaster track record against the Tigers, some high and low points that lead to a 4.11 ERA in six career starts vs. Detroit.

Francisco Liriano has been remarkable in his first two starts with the Tigers. Liriano, his last time out, turned in a winning effort against Cleveland (6 IP, 2 ER, 3 H) but took the loss because the Detroit offense could not garner any success against reigning AL Cy Young winner Corey Kluber.

Liriano boasts a career 4.14 ERA in 10 starts against the O’s.

GAME 2 | Chris Tillman (Orioles) vs. Matthew Boyd (Tigers)

Once upon a time, Chris Tillman (0-2, 8.68 ERA) was arguably Baltimore’s No. 1 in the rotation; had a career 3.81 ERA in 143 starts from 2012-16. But after a disastrous 2017 campaign (7.84 ERA in 24 games), which started with a shoulder injury out of spring camp, Tillman has really taken a nosedive in the Oriole’s pecking order of pitchers.

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Like his fellow lefty colleague in the rotation, Matthew Boyd has gotten off to a nice and encouraging start in 2018. The Oregon State product took advantage of an ice-cold Indians offense his last time out, allowing just a solo homer and three hits total over seven innings. Perhaps a byproduct of cold weather, but Boyd has induced the majority of his outs in the air, 30 of his 47 batters faced have resulted in fly balls.

GAME 3 | Alex Cobb (Orioles) vs. Jordan Zimmermann (Tigers)

Alex Cobb (0-1, 17.18 ERA) was one of the top-tier pitching free agents this offseason, in a market that was glacier-like. Despite not signing until a week before Opening Day, Cobb was still able to get a four-year deal for around $60 million. His first start with his new club did not go well, to say the least. The Boston Red Sox tagged him for eight runs in 3.2 innings, hence the heavily-inflated ERA.

It’s remarkable that Jordan Zimmermann (0-0, 8.18 ERA) is making his next start after getting beamed in the head on a Jason Kipnis line drive comebacker in the first inning his last time out. So that’s the good news. The bad news is that the Tigers really need to see improvement from Zimmermann. Another problem? He has a career ERA close to 6.00 in eight starts vs. Baltimore.

Zimmermann was originally tabbed to pitch Game 1 in this series but with the recent postponements, his start is pushed back.

HITTERS TO WATCH

Miguel Cabrera loves hitting off of Baltimore pitching… okay, he loves hitting most pitching staffs but Orioles arms have been among his favorite. Cabrera has a career 1.130 OPS against Baltimore, which ranks second-highest against any single team (min. 30 games). He also just had his first multi-hit game this past Friday since April 1 against the Pirates.

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Meanwhile for Baltimore, as we pointed out earlier, there are a lot of cold bats in that clubhouse right now. That is not the case for Manny Machado. The impending free agent is putting up Machado-like numbers (actually better, statistically speaking) early on (.308 BA, .915 OPS). Last season against the Tigers, Machado hit a cool .345 with a couple of homers and nine RBI.

SERIES INFO

  • Game 1 | Tues, April 17 @ 6:40 p.m. ET
  • Game 2 | Wed, April 18 @ 6:40 p.m. ET
  • Game 3 | Thur, April 19 @ 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.

*Can be seen on MLB Network (out of market only)