The Detroit Tigers are playing at their highest level in months,
but it’s been a rough few weeks for Miguel Cabrera.
Cabrera and the Tigers look to move three games above .500 for
the first time in nearly two months when they continue a three-game
series against the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night.
Although it’s been out of playoff contention for a while,
Detroit (76-74) looks to be finishing the season strong. The Tigers
have won four straight and 11 of 17. After outscoring the White Sox
24-12 during a three-game sweep, Detroit opened this series against
the Royals (61-88) with a 7-5 win Monday.
Alex Avila had three hits and drove in three runs while Will
Rhymes hit his first major league homer after officials overturned
the original call that it hit the top of the fence.
“I got to enjoy that home run a lot longer than most people.
That was the longest home run jog ever,” said Rhymes, who is 4 for
11 with five RBIs the last three games.
Detroit is averaging 6.1 runs over its last 17 games and has won
seven straight against AL Central opponents.
While Detroit’s offense has been revitalized, Cabrera had fallen
off his impressive pace. He went 1 for 4 on Monday to drop his
average to a season-low .325. He’s 3 for 25 with eight strikeouts
in his last six games and is hitting .196 this month.
Cabrera, who still leads the majors with 119 RBIs, said before
the game that his recent shoulder issues were not an explanation
for his slump.
The Detroit first baseman is 7 for 12 with two doubles and two
home runs against Bruce Chen (10-7, 4.70 ERA), who will take the
mound for the Royals on Tuesday. A win would move the Tigers three
games above .500 for the first time since July 27.
Chen, however, is trying to win his third straight decision.
The veteran left-hander gave up three runs in five innings of a
6-3 win over Oakland on Wednesday. He is 2-0 with a 3.97 ERA in his
last four starts.
Chen is 1-1 with a 7.07 ERA in three starts against the Tigers
this season. He allowed four runs in 4 2-3 innings of a 6-4 loss
The Tigers will counter with Armando Galarraga (4-6, 4.27), who
is winless in his last five starts. He earned his first decision
over that stretch against Texas on Wednesday, tying a career high
with eight runs and eight hits allowed in 3 2-3 innings of an 11-7
Galarraga is 2-0 with a 1.87 ERA in seven starts versus the
Royals, but the Tigers have lost his last four starts against them,
including two this season. The right-hander has given up two runs
and nine hits in 11 1-3 innings this year.
Yuniesky Betancourt, who matched a career high with four hits,
including a three-run homer Monday, is 1 for 6 against