Series Preview: Tigers to tackle Twins in a battle for first place in AL Central

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Sep 13, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Matt Boyd (48) pitches in the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

DETROIT TIGERS (4-2) vs. Minnesota Twins (5-1)

Game 1 – Matthew Boyd (0-1, 19.29 ERA, 2K) vs. Hector Santiago (1-0, 1.80 ERA, 4K)

Tuesday, April 11 @ 1:10 p.m. ET

Matt Boyd’s inaugural outing for the 2017 season did not go according to plan. Lasting only 2.1 innings against the White Sox on April 6, Boyd gave up 5 runs on 5 hits during that time. Quickly pulled for Anibal Sanchez and long relief, the Tigers ending up losing that contest.

Santiago was excellent in his first start of the year striking out 4 batters in 5 innings in limited duty. He will be at full go on Tuesday.

Game 2 – Michael Fulmer (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 4K) vs. Kyle Gibson (0-0, 5.40 ERA, 5K)

Wednesday, April 12 @ 1:10 p.m. ET

How did Fulmer follow up a Rookie of the Year season? Michael came out dealing in his 2017 debut. After 6 scoreless innings, there appears to be no sign of a sophomore slump for the right-hander.

Kyle Gibson has only been vulnerable to the long ball this season. That could work in his favor given the huge confines of Comerica Park.

Game 3 – Jordan Zimmermann (1-0, 1.50 ERA, 3K) vs. Phil Hughes (1-0, 1.50 ERA, 3K)

Thursday, April 13 @ 1:10 p.m. ET

Zimmermann didn’t light the world on fire statistically in his first start for Detroit this year. However, in the end, the only stat that matters is the final score. Zimmermann did what he needed to do in order to get the win in his first start.

After an injury plagued 2016 where he required surgery, Phil Hughes is back and ready to roll. He gave up only 1 run in his first start of the year earning the win.

PREDICTION

The Tigers showed some inconsistencies over the first week of the season. The bullpen blew up accounting for one loss against the Boston Red Sox and the starting pitching was MIA against Chicago for one game. However, encouraging signs are that there have been offensive contributions from unexpected players like Andrew Romine and James McCann which led to a 4-2 record and 2nd place in the AL Central.

The Twins have surged to a 5-1 start and 1st place early in 2017. The Tigers have the home field advantage in this 3-game set and the Twins are 2-1 on the road so far. I predict that the big bats for Detroit will wake up and be enough to take 2 of 3 from the Twins for another series win and 1st place in the AL Central Division.