Tigers-Cubs Preview

A return to interleague play appears to have given the Detroit

Tigers just the boost they needed to end their recent

struggles.

After winning back-to-back games to conclude the weekend, the

Tigers may have a good chance to keep heading in the right

direction when they take on the struggling Chicago Cubs on Tuesday

night.

Detroit (28-32) had dropped seven of 10 heading into a series

against NL Central-leading Cincinnati, but left Great American Ball

Park with two victories in three games. Austin Jackson homered and

hit a two-run double off Reds closer Aroldis Chapman to rally his

team to a 7-6 win Sunday.

“Taking two out of three from a first-place team and a really

good team is a step in the right direction. We’ve certainly been

challenged. We need to get a couple of our guys back,” manager Jim

Leyland said. “We’ve got to be tough.”

The Tigers have been very tough on the Cubs in recent matchups,

winning seven in a row. They recorded a three-game sweep during

their most recent visit to Wrigley Field from June 16-18, 2006.

Detroit has won of 11 of 14 meetings with Chicago during

interleague play and five straight at Wrigley.

Chicago (20-40) has lost 20 of 25 and sits at the bottom of the

NL Central as it returns home after a 2-8 road trip. The Cubs have

won three straight at Wrigley by virtue of a sweep of San Diego

from May 28-30.

They stopped a four-game skid with an 8-2 win over Minnesota on

Sunday.

“We needed to go out feeling OK, get good self-esteem about our

team,” outfielder David DeJesus told the team’s website. “We have a

tough series ahead of us and at least we can go home feeling, ‘Yes,

we won a game,’ and hopefully we can get that feeling again in

Chicago.”

Paul Maholm (4-5, 5.10 ERA) is looking to end a three-game

losing streak after lasting four innings during an 8-0 defeat to

Milwaukee on Wednesday. He gave up four runs and has posted a 6.41

ERA over his last five starts, not pitching more than 5 1-3 innings

in his last three outings.

“You have to keep going. I have 20-some starts left,” Maholm

said. “Trust me, I’m not happy. I’m not having fun. It’s time for

me to get deeper into games on a consistent basis.”

The left-hander has gone 0-1 with a 2.38 ERA in two starts

against Detroit. He gave up two runs over 5 1-3 innings of a 2-0

home loss to the Tigers for Pittsburgh on May 22, 2011.

The Tigers’ scheduled starter will also be looking to get back

on track, as Max Scherzer (5-4, 5.88) is coming off his worst

outing of the year. The right-hander gave up a season-high eight

runs over 4 1-3 innings of a 9-6 loss to Cleveland on

Wednesday.

Scherzer did not get a decision in his only start against the

Cubs on May 10, 2008, while with Arizona, pitching six innings and

giving up no earned runs in a 7-2 loss.