Mariners-Tigers Preview

The Detroit Tigers haven’t been able to get much going at the

plate lately. The same was true for them against the Seattle

Mariners last season.

Detroit continues its seven-game homestand when it faces a

Mariners team trying to snap a four-game losing streak Tuesday


The Tigers hit .304 and averaging 6.7 runs during a

season-opening 5-1 homestand April 5-12, but they’ve averaged 3.0

runs in 10 games since. Detroit batted .179 and scored 12 runs

while losing three of four to visiting Texas over the weekend,

falling 3-2 in 11 innings Sunday.

“We just didn’t hit very much today,” manager Jim Leyland told

the Tigers’ official website.

Leyland’s statement could be applied to his team’s performance

against Seattle last season. The Tigers (10-6) had the

third-highest batting average in the majors last season at .277,

but hit .233 and scored 3.7 runs per game while losing six of 10 to

Seattle in 2011, including five of seven at home.

The Mariners (7-10), who hit 10 of their 13 homers against the

Tigers last season at Comerica Park – their most at any visiting

ballpark – would like to continue that trend after batting .175 and

scoring seven times while getting swept by Chicago over the

weekend. The White Sox’s Philip Humber threw a perfect game in

Seattle’s 4-0 loss Saturday.

The Mariners also didn’t get very good pitching versus the White

Sox, allowing 18 runs. Kevin Millwood lasted 5 1-3 innings and gave

up five runs in a 7-4 loss Sunday.

“Panic is definitely not the answer,” Millwood said. “… It’s

one of those things you’ve got to get through. Hopefully there will

be more good stretches than bad.”

The Mariners’ starting pitchers were particularly bad over the

weekend, yielding 14 runs in just 12 2-3 innings and severely

taxing the bullpen.

Seattle will look to Jason Vargas (2-1, 2.84 ERA) to give the

relievers a much-needed break. The left-hander has pitched more

than six innings in three of his four starts and went a season-high

seven in a 4-1 win over Cleveland on Wednesday. He struck out


Vargas, though, wasn’t able to give the Mariners length in his

only start at Comerica Park on July 3, 2010, lasting 4 1-3 innings

and giving up six runs in a 6-1 loss.

That was still a better effort than the last time Max Scherzer

(1-1, 7.98) took the ball in Detroit. Making his season debut April

8, the right-hander gave up seven runs in 2 2-3 innings of a 13-12,

11-inning win over Boston.

That was the most earned runs allowed by Scherzer in 34 starts

at Comerica Park.

Scherzer, though, picked up his first win of the season with six

innings of three-run ball in a 4-3 victory over Kansas City on

Wednesday. He has won all four of his starts against the Mariners

with a 2.00 ERA.

Reigning AL batting champion Miguel Cabrera hit .174 (4 for 23)

with one RBI in seven home games against Seattle in 2011. He is 2

for 3 with a double against Vargas.

Tigers right fielder Brennan Boesch, 6 for 9 off Vargas, batted

.432 (16 for 37) with six doubles and a homer against the Mariners

last season.

Ichiro Suzuki is a .347 hitter in 49 games in Detroit. He’s 2

for 12 against Scherzer, though.

First baseman Justin Smoak will likely return to the Mariners’

lineup after getting Sunday off. He led the club with five homers

and 13 RBIs in this series in 2011.