The Detroit Tigers have dropped into third place in the AL Central after a rough ending to their trip.
Nearly one-third of the Oakland Athletics’ losses have come to teams from that division.
The Tigers took two of three from the Athletics last week, and these teams meet again in a three-game series that begins Tuesday night at Comerica Park.
Detroit (28-24) began a seven-game trip with a solid series against Oakland before getting outscored 26-10 in a four-game sweep by the Los Angeles Angels. Sunday’s 4-2 loss capped a series in which the Tigers batted .213 and stranded 29 runners.
”We’ve got to find a way to score runs. It’s as simple as that,” manager Brad Ausmus said. ”I still think that long-term, the offense will be fine. But with every passing day, it becomes more of an issue. We’re going to have to figure it out, because we’re a better offense than this.”
Oakland (20-33) starts a six-game trip with a 3-10 record against Central opponents. The Athletics, however, are feeling better about themselves by recovering from the series loss to the Tigers by taking three of four from the New York Yankees to cap a 4-3 homestand.
"It feels great any time you win a series, doesn’t matter who you are playing against," catcher Stephen Vogt said. "For us to be at home and have a winning homestand and take three out of four from a very good baseball team, that’s a big confidence boost for us going into Detroit and Boston."
Vogt is 10 for 25 during a seven-game hitting streak, including a two-run homer as he accounted for all the runs in Sunday’s 3-0 victory.
"Not only production and homers but big hits, that’s really the full package that you’re talking about when you’re talking about what Stephen Vogt’s doing right now," manager Bob Melvin said.
Vogt was 5 for 11 last week against the Tigers while Miguel Cabrera was 1 for 8 in that series as he sat out once for Detroit. They are among the majors’ leaders in OPS, with Vogt at 1.022 and Cabrera at 1.020.
Tigers starter Alfredo Simon (5-2, 2.67 ERA) will be very well rested since he hasn’t pitched since giving up two unearned runs over seven innings to earn a 6-2 home win over Houston on May 22. He was slated to start Wednesday in Oakland before returning home to be with his father, who passed away over the weekend.
The right-hander’s lone start against the A’s was in 2011. Simon has never faced Vogt while Josh Reddick is 3 for 4 against him.
Oakland will counter with Kendall Graveman, who is 1-0 with a 2.31 ERA in two starts since being recalled May 23 from Triple-A Nashville for his second stint with the club. The right-hander was sent down after going 1-2 with an 8.27 ERA in his first four outings.
Graveman (2-2, 5.79) allowed three runs in 5 2-3 innings Thursday and did not factor in the decision in a 5-4 win over the Yankees. He has never faced Detroit.