Pirates-Tigers Preview

Magglio Ordonez’s absence hasn’t kept the Detroit Tigers from

moving into position to earn their first sweep of the Pittsburgh

Pirates.

With Ordonez’s status still uncertain, the Tigers look to extend

the Pirates’ losing streak to eight as the teams wrap up a

three-game set Sunday.

Carlos Guillen hit a leadoff home run in the 10th inning to give

Detroit (32-29) a 4-3 win over Pittsburgh (23-39) on Saturday

night.

Another victory over the Pirates would give the Tigers their

first series sweep against them. This is the eighth series these

teams have played, with Detroit winning 13 of 23 matchups.

The Pirates, losers of 10 straight on the road and seven in a

row overall, hardly seem in any shape to match up with the Tigers.

Still, Detroit manager Jim Leyland doesn’t want his club to have a

letdown against the franchise he managed from 1986-1996.

“That’s still a good major league team,” Leyland said. “They’ve

got one of the best young players in baseball in (Andrew)

McCutchen, and some good, young athletes.”

Detroit has been getting by without Ordonez (oblique), who has

missed five straight games and is day to day. Detroit has Monday

off, so Leyland may decide to keep the 36-year-old right fielder on

the bench again to give him two more days to rest.

“He may feel great (Sunday) and if he feels great, I’ll play

him,” Leyland told the Tigers’ official website. “If he doesn’t, I

won’t. If there’s any question about it, then I’d give him (Sunday)

off, obviously. There would be no sense to risk anything if there

is any question or doubt whatsoever.”

If Armando Galarraga (2-1, 2.77 ERA) continues his strong

pitching, Detroit may not need much production from its lineup.

Galarraga didn’t receive a decision in his last start, allowing

two runs in five innings of a 7-2 win over the Chicago White Sox on

Tuesday night. It was his first outing since a blown call with two

outs in the ninth inning against Cleveland on June 2 ruined a bid

for a perfect game.

The right-hander, though, struggled in his only start against

the Pirates, surrendering four runs and eight hits in two innings

as the Tigers lost 9-3 on June 13, 2009.

Pittsburgh will counter with Jeff Karstens (1-2, 4.81), who is

making his third straight start following a stint in the bullpen.

The right-hander gave up four runs and nine hits in five innings of

a 5-2 loss to Washington on Tuesday night.

Karstens is 0-2 with a 6.48 ERA in three road starts. This is

his first appearance versus the Tigers.

Pirates pitchers continue to get little support. Pittsburgh is

averaging 2.4 runs during its skid on the road, and the club’s 201

total runs are tied with Baltimore for worst in the majors.

Garrett Jones, though, has been a bright spot for the Pirates.

He hit a solo homer Saturday and is 7 for 15 (.467) over his last

four games.

Jones is 6 for 12 in four games at Detroit.