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SERIES PREVIEW: Tigers eye third-straight win as they return home against Seattle

Aug 25, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Detroit Tigers catcher James McCann (34) celebrates with designated hitter Victor Martinez (41) after his home run against the Minnesota Twins in the third inning at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

SEATTLE MARINERS (8-12) vs. DETROIT TIGERS (10-8)

Game 1 – Jordan Zimmerman (1-1, 5.94 ERA, 10 K) vs. Felix Hernandez (2-1, 3.55 ERA, 20 K)

Tuesday, April 25 @ 7:10 p.m. ET

TV: Fox Sports Detroit | Radio: 97.1 The Ticket

 

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Tampa Bay Rays
Jun 30, 2016; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann (27) walks back to the dugout against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Zimmerman found his command in his last outing against the Rays on April 19, going six innings and only walking one batter. Unfortunately, he was touched up for 10 hits and allowed five earned runs for the second straight start.

 

The Tigers face a familiar foe in Felix Hernandez in the first game of the series on Tuesday. Hernandez has had success against Detroit going 9-3 with a 2.48 ERA in 15 starts. His WHIP is approaching a career-high, however, as he’s allowed 33 hits in 24 IP, so fortunately for the Tigers, his stuff is not what it used to be.

Game 2 – Daniel Norris (1-1, 3.71 ERA, 11 K) vs. James Paxton (2-0, 1.78 ERA, 30 K)

Wednesday, April 26 @ 7:10 p.m. ET

TV: Fox Sports Detroit | Radio: 97.1 The Ticket

A rough outing and even worse defense doomed Daniel Norris is his last start. Before the last outing on April 20 against the Rays, Norris had a streak of 22 consecutive games allowing three or fewer earned runs. Last season, Norris faced Seattle twice, allowing three home runs in his June 23 start, a game the Tigers won 5-4 on a walk off.

The Mariners counter with James Paxton, who prior to his last start, was having a stellar start to the 2017 campaign. He hadn’t allowed a run until the Athletics dropped five on him in four innings last start. Paxton hopes to rebound against the Tigers in game two of this series. Last season, Detroit had 11 hits and four runs against Paxton and the Mariners in their only meeting of the season.

Game 3 – Justin Verlander (1-2, 6.04 ERA, 22 K) vs. Hisashi Iwakuma (0-2, 5.31 ERA, 9 K)

Thursday, April 27 @ 1:10 p.m. ET

TV: MLB Network & Fox Sports Detroit | Radio: 97.1 The Ticket

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Detroit Tigers
Sep 28, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) smiles from the dugout before the game against the Cleveland Indians at Comerica Park.  Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Verlander has been absolutely throttled in his last two outings. His hot start to the season seems like forever ago after Cleveland and Minnesota combined for 14 hits and 13 runs on Verlander over the last week. Six walks in his last outing is not a good sign for the veteran who is in dire need of a quality start to right the ship.

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Hisashi Iwakuma brings his own problems into this game after allowing six home runs in his first 20 innings of the season. This bodes well for a Tiger team that digs the long ball after starting the season hitting at least one home run in the first 13 games of the year.

 

PREDICTION

After losing four straight and looking like a team bound for mediocrity, the Tigers have bounced back and enter this series with back-to-back wins. The logic seems almost backward as the lineup has begun to heat up even as the regulars fall to injuries. Jose Iglesias, Miguel Cabrera, JaCoby Jones, and J.D. Martinez all have made their way to the Disabled List this season, but the reserves have stepped up.

The results of this series weigh heavily on the ability of the three Tigers starting pitchers to bounce back from bad starts. I think Verlander takes game three on Thursday, and Zimmerman or Norris find a way to muster six quality innings against an average Seattle lineup. Tigers get two of three to begin their 10-game homestand.

So far on the season, the Detroit Sports Nation Tigers team is 2-3 on our series predictions. 

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