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Wednesday, April 1, 2020

SERIES PREVIEW: Tigers begin west coast swing in Oakland

The Tigers head west for their first west-coast road trip of the 2017 MLB season. First up: Oakland.


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DETROIT TIGERS (14-13) vs. OAKLAND ATHLETICS (12-16)

Game 1 – Michael Fulmer (2-1, 3.19 ERA, 26 K) vs. Andrew Triggs (4-1, 1.84 ERA, 22 K)

Friday, May 5 @ 10:05 p.m. ET

TV: Fox Sports Detroit | Radio: 97.1 The Ticket

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Cleveland Indians
Sep 16, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Michael Fulmer (32) reacts after being called for a balk during the third inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Fulmer continues to give the Tigers a chance to win every time out this year with five quality starts already. Detroit is 3-2 in games Fulmer starts, and he has allowed less than three earned each outing this year. Fulmer is pushed back a day as Thursday’s game with Cleveland was rained out so an extra days rest should do him some good. The Athletics are a combined 2-16 against Fulmer in his career.

Andrew Triggs has been an early season surprise for the Athletics. Before this year, the 28-year-old had only started six games and made 24 appearances in his career. He has not allowed more than five hits in a start this season, and had his best outing last game against Houston, going a career-high seven innings and striking out nine while allowing no runs. In two relief appearances against the Tigers last season, Triggs allowed one run in two innings.

 

Game 2 –  Jordan Zimmerman (3-1, 6.18 ERA, 16 K) vs. Jesse Hahn ( 1-2, 2.53 ERA, 26 K)

Saturday, May 6 @ 9:05 p.m. ET

TV: Fox Sports Detroit | Radio: 97.1 The Ticket

Sep 25, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann (27) pitches in the seventh inning against the Kansas City Royals at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Despite a 2-0 record over his last three starts, Jordan Zimmerman has continued to allow a ton of hits and more runs than the Tigers would like. Only one start this year has Zimmerman allowed less than three runs. The good news is he seems to be finding his form from his time with Washington as he has only issued three walks in his last three starts, after six in his first

two outings. If there is ever a time for Zimmerman to piece together a solid start, it’s right now as the Tigers embark on a eight-game west coast road trip.

Jesse Hahn trots out to the mound on Saturday for the Athletics, and has been a workhorse for Oakland so far this season. He has reached the 6th inning in each of his first five starts and put together an eight inning, one-hit outing against the Angels on April 25th. Although he didn’t get the win in that game, the right-hander has been very impressive in his 4th MLB season, currently sitting with a 2.53 ERA.

Game 3 – Justin Verlander (2-2, 4.21 ERA, 35 K) vs. Sonny Gray (0-1, 6.00 ERA, 4 K)

Sunday, May 7 @ 4:05 p.m. ET

TV: Fox Sports Detroit | Radio: 97.1 The Ticket

Oct 2, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) throws a pitch against the Atlanta Braves in the fifth inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

It looks like it’s finally time for some #MustSeeJV again after Verlander’s last two starts. The

pitch count was through the roof and the walks have been higher than normal, but Justin Verlander is beginning to find his mojo again as the calendar turns to May. He has gone seven innings in his last two outings, allowing two earned runs between the two starts and leading the Tigers to a big win over the Indians last time out. Slowly but surely, the Tigers rotation is finding a groove and that could spell trouble for a weak offensive lineup like Oakland has.

After experience tightness in his right shoulder, Sonny Gray finally made his first start of the season on May 2. The Twins touched him up for four runs on three HR in just six innings, and Gray only threw 88 pitches before leaving the game. Don’t expect a long outing from Sonny this Sunday, which could be a good sign for the Tigers if they are able to exhaust the A’s bullpen in the first two games of this series.

PREDICTION

After losing eight of their last ten, following a five-game winning streak, Oakland welcomes Detroit to the Coliseum for a three-game series. The Tigers pitching is slowly taking shape and the combination of Fulmer and Verlander in this series will be tough for Oakland to overcome. On the offensive side of the ball, Miguel Cabrera returned from the 10-day DL and promptly hit his 450th career home run. The bats have started to heat up as a few key pieces have returned from injuries and the warm weather in Oakland this weekend will hopefully continue that trend

I think the Tigers take two of three in this one, with Verlander securing his third win of the year. He has been solid his last two times out and will be looking to regain some command issues come Sunday. The three-game set is the beginning of a west coast swing for the Tigers, who then travel to Arizona and Los Angeles following this series. It’s important for Detroit to go at least .500 on this trip, and I like having Oakland as the first stop.

So far on the season, the Detroit Sports Nation Tigers team is 4-4 on our series predictions. 

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