The Detroit Tigers set out to sweep the division rival Kansas City Royals on Thursday afternoon, and that’s precisely what they did–not by winning the game, but by seeing the game washed out, thus clinching a sweep of the Royals in a shortened two-game series. Time to move on to the second series of the season.
Detroit Tigers (2-0) vs Baltimore Orioles (1-2) — 1:08 PM
Comerica Park — Detroit, MI
TV: FSD, MLB.com (For out-of-market fans, most cable and satellite providers have a free preview of MLB Extra Innings for the season’s first week)
Radio: 97.1 The Ticket
Weather: 61 degrees, rain likely
- Thursday’s starter, Anibal Sanchez, will get the nod for Detroit as they welcome in the Baltimore Orioles for the first of three weekend games. This means that Drew Smyly will get skipped in the rotation and will likely receive some work out of the bullpen at some point during the series.
- Alex Gonzalez and Steve Lombardozzi will face their old teams this weekend after being traded for one another a couple of weeks back.
- The Orioles will likely be tired after playing a night game, and losing 4-3, at home with Boston Thursday night, flying into Detroit late, and having an early game Friday. Baltimore has played two games (both losses) since Detroit last played, a 2-1, 10-inning win over Kansas City on Wednesday afternoon.
- Today figures to be as rainy as yesterday, albeit around 20 degrees warmer. Should today’s game be rained out, expect a doubleheader on Saturday or Sunday when better weather is predicted. This is Baltimore’s only trip to Detroit in 2014.
When We Last Met
Detroit and Baltimore tangled six times in 2013, with the Orioles claiming four victories, including beating the Tigers two out of three games at Comerica Park in June. The Tigers hold an all-time advantage of 1040-946 in a series that dates back to 1901 when the Orioles were the St. Louis Browns.
When we last saw today’s starter, Anibal Sanchez, it was way back on March 12 in a Spring Training game against the New York Yankees. Because of shoulder stiffness, he would not start another game. He started a minor league game in the final week of Spring Training and pitched a simulated game at Comerica Park on Sunday after an exhibition game in Washington was rained out on Saturday.
Lost in Scherzer’s Cy Young season and Justin Verlander‘s lights-out postseason, Sanchez was the AL ERA leader a season ago. Sanchez did not face Baltimore in 2013 and has only faced a handful of Orioles, none more than four times–providing really nothing of statistical substance. Oh, he did face former Tiger (can you call a guy who never played a regular season game a former Tiger) Lombardozzi and has retired him all three at-bats.
Miguel Gonzalez gets the start for Baltimore, having posted a 11-8 record and 3.78 ERA a season ago, but was rocked by the Tigers in his lone start against them in a May start in Baltimore. He allowed five runs, but earned a no-decision after Jose Valverde blew the save and lost the game.