Nationals-Tigers Preview

A few Detroit Tigers hitters may be rusty after getting some

rest, but at least they’ll miss out on facing Stephen Strasburg as

they try to ease their way back into the lineup.

Without having to worry about the Washington Nationals’

hard-throwing phenom, the Tigers hope to have three of their top

hitters back in the opener of a three-game series Tuesday

night.

Both teams had Monday off, with Washington (31-33) entering its

break after earning a 9-4 win over Cleveland on Sunday behind an

effective start from the much-hyped Strasburg.

Detroit (33-29), meanwhile, completed a three-game sweep of

Pittsburgh with a 4-3 win that afternoon, prevailing even though

Magglio Ordonez (strained oblique), Carlos Guillen (calf) and

Austin Jackson (back) were hindered by injuries.

Ordonez, batting .312 with eight homers and 41 RBIs, is expected

to play after missing six straight games, and Guillen will likely

join him in the lineup after being held out as a precaution.

Guillen has been limited to 31 games due to injuries, hitting .299

with four homers and 17 RBIs.

Jackson’s status, though, is a little more uncertain. The rookie

center fielder, who left after a half-inning Sunday, is day to

day.

If Jackson can’t play, Ryan Raburn is a candidate to take his

spot. Jackson has had an impressive first 2 1/2 months to his

career, hitting .308 with 17 doubles and 10 stolen bases.

Detroit can take solace in knowing that slugger Miguel Cabrera

appears healthy. Cabrera hit a go-ahead, three-run homer to the

opposite field that gave the Tigers a 4-3 victory Sunday.

One of the majors’ premier right-handed hitters, Cabrera thrives

on driving the ball the other way.

“As long as you watch baseball, you won’t see many guys that hit

the ball to opposite field like that,” manager Jim Leyland said.

“People get used to it around here. But trust me, in the history of

the game, there’s not many guys that take it out to opposite field

like it’s nothing.”

Max Scherzer (2-6, 6.30 ERA), set to take the mound for Detroit,

could have used some support from Cabrera and the Tigers’ lineup in

his last start. Scherzer gave up three runs and struck out seven in

7 1-3 innings of a 3-0 loss to the Chicago White Sox on

Thursday.

The right-hander is 1-2 with a 4.00 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 18

innings in three starts since being recalled from Triple-A

Toledo.

Scherzer struggled in his only start against the Nationals,

surrendering four runs and seven hits in five innings while not

receiving a decision for Arizona in a 10-8 defeat May 10, 2009.

For the second straight week, Washington’s John Lannan (2-3,

5.00) will follow Strasburg in the rotation. The left-hander didn’t

fare well the first time, allowing five runs and 10 hits in 4 2-3

innings of Washington’s 7-5 win over Pittsburgh on Wednesday

night.

Lannan has never faced the Tigers.

If Lannan falters again, Washington may need a second straight

big game at the plate. The Nationals matched a season high with 16

hits to avoid being swept by the Indians.

Catcher Ivan Rodriguez is 7 for 16 (.438) in four games since

coming off the disabled list. Rodriguez, who played for the 2006 AL

champion Tigers under Leyland, is playing his second game at

Detroit since being traded to the Yankees in 2008.

The Tigers have won five of their last six against the Nationals

franchise.