Cabrera, Tigers try for third straight victory over Astros Saturday
The Detroit Tigers have been the AL’s best team in day games so far this season, and Miguel Cabrera’s performances have played a significant role.
The slugger will carry a 10-game hit streak into Saturday afternoon’s matchup with the Houston Astros and try to lead the Tigers to their longest run of victories since the opening week (3 p.m. pregame, 4:08 first pitch on FOX Sports Detroit).
Detroit (26-17) is 16-4 in the daylight, slightly better than Houston’s and Kansas City’s 9-3 marks. Cabrera is batting .455 with nine of his 10 homers and 27 of his 31 RBIs in those 20 afternoon contests.
He’s also hitting .421 with four home runs in his current hit streak and recorded his second straight multihit game in a 6-2 victory Friday. J.D. Martinez had a three-run homer – his first in seven games against his former team – and James McCann provided some cushion with a two-run single with two outs in the eighth.
"It’s nice to hit a homer against anyone, but I feel like I squashed (bitterness against Houston) last year," Martinez said. "Everything happens for a reason, and I’m here now, trying to help the Tigers win games."
The Tigers now try to secure a fourth consecutive victory against Lance McCullers (0-0, 1.93 ERA), who’s making his second major league start. Detroit hasn’t won four in a row since its 6-0 start and is seeking to match its four-game home win streak to open this season.
McCullers, whose father pitched for the Tigers in 1990 as part of a seven-year career, yielded one run and three hits in 4 2-3 innings in a 2-1 loss to Oakland on Monday. The 21-year-old right-hander was called up by Houston (27-16) to fill in for an ailing Brett Oberholtzer, whose blister could heal for the Astros’ homestand that begins May 29.
McCullers is currently slated to start the first of those seven consecutive games at Minute Maid Park but there’s a chance that Oberholtzer could be back in the rotation if he doesn’t need a rehab start. Manager A.J. Hinch indicated there’s a chance McCullers could remain even after Oberholzer’s return.
"I don’t want him out on the mound thinking he’s pitching for his life in the big leagues and that this is the only impression he can make," Hinch told MLB’s official website. "What we’re finding is the depth we have. We’re looking for somebody to take over that No. 5 spot, and right now, it’s his opportunity. The better he pitches, the more opportunity comes his way."
Detroit’s Kyle Lobstein (3-4, 4.29) will seek to avoid losing a third consecutive start in his first against Houston. The left-hander had an improved showing in a 3-2 loss to Milwaukee on Monday, giving up three runs in 6 2-3 innings after getting tagged for six in 2 1-3 innings in a 6-2 defeat to Minnesota on May 13.
Lobstein, who has been starting in place of the injured Justin Verlander, is 3-0 with a 2.75 ERA in day games this season and 0-4 with a 5.64 ERA at night. Only the New York Mets’ Bartolo Colon has a better record in the afternoon at 4-0.