A .500 record and alternating wins with losses for nearly two
weeks have the Detroit Tigers looking for a breakout series.
The Oakland Athletics were relieved to avoid a break of a
The underachieving Tigers face the A’s on Thursday night in the
opener of a four-game set at O.co Coliseum.
Reigning AL Central champion Detroit (15-15) has split its last
10 games, totaling 30 runs in the five victories compared to nine
in the defeats.
The Tigers arrive in Oakland after dropping two of three at
Seattle, losing the finale 2-1 on Tuesday in a game where they
totaled five hits.
“It’s pretty much a broken record now, we’re just not scoring
any runs and that was the case (Thursday),” manager Jim Leyland
said. “I don’t think we were bad at swinging the bat at pitches, we
just didn’t center the ball very good.”
Prince Fielder, 0 for 3 in the finale versus the Mariners, is
batting .370 with four homers in Detroit’s victories this season,
compared with a .250 average and one home run in the losses.
Fielder may get his first look at Oakland rookie outfielder
Yoenis Cespedes, who avoided a scare Wednesday when X-rays revealed
he only has a strain on the top of his left hand and not a broken
He’s already missed two games with the injury, which occurred
during batting practice Tuesday. The rookie leader with five homers
and 21 RBIs, Cespedes is expected to take batting practice Thursday
to determine his availability.
“You don’t want to lose a bat like that in the lineup,” third
baseman Brandon Inge told the Athletics’ official website.
Without Cespedes, the A’s (16-15) split a two-game set with
Toronto, falling 5-2 on Wednesday to lose for just the second time
in seven contests overall.
Inge will face the Tigers for the first time since they waived
him April 29. He played six positions over 11-plus seasons with
Detroit, helping the club to a World Series appearance in 2006 and
a trip to the AL championship series last fall.
Claimed off waivers by the Athletics, Inge has two homers and
nine RBIs through his first seven games for Oakland, including a
game-ending grand slam in Tuesday’s 7-3 victory over the Blue
The Tigers will give the ball to Max Scherzer (1-3, 6.32 ERA),
whose last three starts have resulted in Detroit losses.
The right-hander couldn’t be blamed for the outcome of
Saturday’s 3-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox. He yielded one run
and four hits over seven innings while striking out nine and left
with the lead, but closer Jose Valverde gave up two runs in the
ninth to blow the save.
Scherzer lost to the Athletics last season, allowing five runs
and seven hits – three homers – in five innings of a 6-1 defeat in
Oakland on Sept. 15.
He’ll be opposed by Bartolo Colon (3-2, 2.83), who is seeking
his first win over the Tigers since April 13, 2003, with the White
Sox. The right-hander, who turns 39 in two weeks, is 0-6 with a
6.93 ERA in 11 games – 10 starts – versus Detroit since then.
Colon allowed three runs and eight hits, including three homers,
in five innings of Saturday’s 4-3 win in 12 innings at Tampa
Tigers manager Jim Leyland may be tempted to give a start to
veteran middle infielder Ramon Santiago, who is 11 for 20 with
three doubles and a triple off Colon.