New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi refuses to think about what might happen if Michael Pineda struggles again at Comerica Park.
He's hopeful to get the best out of his right-hander, though there's certainly little room for error given how little the offense is contributing.
With his spot in the rotation possibly at stake, Pineda will try to help the Yankees avoid their fourth consecutive defeat Thursday night against the Detroit Tigers in the makeup of a postponed contest from early April.
Pineda (2-6, 6.92 ERA) was supposed to give the Yankees (24-28) a dependable second starter behind ace Masashiro Tanaka, but the second-year pro has instead been one of the club's biggest disappointments.
Pineda owns the highest ERA of any qualified big-league starter after he allowed six runs over a season-low 3 2/3 innings in Saturday's 9-5 loss at Tampa Bay. He was coming off his first victory since April 6 after giving up three runs over six innings in a 5-4 win at Oakland on May 22.
"We still believe in Michael," Girardi told the league's official website. "It's some minor adjustments that Michael needs to make. He's going to see a right-handed-hitting lineup that swings the bat really well in Detroit. We have to straighten some things out before we get there."
Pineda has surrendered six runs or more in six of his 10 starts, and Detroit has averaged 6.1 runs and hit .315 with 17 home runs during a 7-2 stretch at Comerica. Making matters worse, he's gone 0-1 with a 5.56 ERA in two starts versus the Tigers (25-27), but he hasn't faced them since 2011.
Girardi, however, insists the Yankees haven't discussed other options should the 27-year-old Pineda endure yet another subpar performance.
"Those are things you might think about if you had someone who was an ace and young and dealing - you might think about it - but Michael's young," the skipper added. "Michael needs to get this done for us."
It would certainly help if the offense could take off some of the pressure. The Yankees, however, have totaled 19 runs and hit .176 while dropping six of their last eight games following Wednesday's 7-0 loss at Toronto.
Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran combined for four of New York's seven hits. Mark Teixeira (3 for 38), Brett Gardner (0 for 23) and Brian McCann (1 for 23) are among the several slumping Yankees.
They'll try to turn things around in this makeup game from April 10. Miguel Cabrera homered in Detroit's 4-0 series-opening win April 8 before Alex Rodriguez and Beltran went deep in New York's 8-4 victory.
The Tigers open a seven-game homestand after snapping a four-game skid with a 3-0 win over the Angels on Wednesday, when Nick Castellanos had three hits and Michael Fulmer took a no-hitter into the seventh.
"If anybody tells you they're not thinking about it, they're lying, in my opinion," said Fulmer, who lost the no-hit bid with two outs.
Cabrera has batted .484 with seven homers in his last 16 home games.
He'll try to continue that trend for left-hander Matt Boyd (0-0, 2.79), who earned a second look in the rotation by allowing three runs over five innings while striking out seven in Saturday's 12-3 loss at Oakland.
Detroit has dropped four of the last five meetings at Comerica.