The weather is projected to be little better in Detroit on Monday when the Tigers open a home-and-home series with the Pittsburgh Pirates after a nasty weekend.
The wintry conditions in Detroit saw Comerica Park host the coldest game in the stadium's history on Saturday and then forced a postponement with the New York Yankees on Sunday. More rain is expected Monday morning but temperatures could reach the mid-50s by the afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.
Now Justin Verlander, who was scheduled to start Sunday, will get to face another NL team, something he's enjoyed quite a bit throughout his career. Since 2006, he is 25-3 against the Senior Circuit for an .893 winning percentage – the best in interleague play.
Article continues below ...
The former AL Cy Young Award winner flirted with a no-hitter in his season debut on Tuesday, as he held Miami hitless through the first 5 1-3 innings before allowing three runs in the sixth.
Verlander allowed three runs and three hits over six innings in an 8-7 11-inning win.
“Obviously, he was lights out early,” catcher James McCann said. “Even the inning he gave up the runs, he made some good pitches. They made some good swings.”
One of Verlander's interleague losses came at the hands of the Pirates, but he's still 4-1 lifetime against them with a 3.00 ERA in six starts. Verlander, who has also held Pittsburgh to a .196 average over 39 innings, allowed three runs in six-plus innings against the Pirates last June.
Detroit had won its first three games before Saturday's 8-4 setback, but is still hitting .300 with an .812 OPS. Jose Iglesias (7 for 16), Ian Kinsler (8 for 19) and J.D. Martinez (5 for 16) have hit safely in each game.
Pittsburgh had won its first four games before dropping the final two in a three-game series with Cincinnati, falling 2-1 on Sunday.
The Pirates had plenty of opportunities in the finale, but managed just one hit in 14 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
“I don't think we were pressing,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “We'll go back and look at the tape to make sure guys weren't rolling over, trying to do too much.”
Getting the call for the Pirates on Monday will be left-hander Jonathon Niese, who surrendered five runs and five hits over five innings in Tuesday's 6-5 11-inning win over St. Louis.
Niese has faced the Tigers just once in his career, a 14-6 loss opposite Verlander on June 22, 2010. Pitching for the New York Mets, Niese gave up six runs in 4 2-3 innings. He is 5-7 with a 4.83 ERA in 18 career interleague starts and is winless in eight games versus the AL since April 12, 2013.
The Tigers haven't seen much of Niese, but Justin Upton, who is 4 for 19 with three doubles on the season, has hit .346 in 26 at-bats against him.
Pittsburgh was 8-2 on the road against the AL last season, including a three-game sweep at Comerica.
Following the two games in Detroit, the series will shift to Pittsburgh's PNC Park for a pair.