The Detroit Tigers avoided their second straight four-game series defeat when they beat the Oakland Athletics 5-4 on Thursday afternoon in Oakland. It was an important win for the Tigers as they attempt to turn things around following a rough stretch.
Long-term, the Tigers are a dreadful 3-7 in their last 10 games, but short-term, splitting four games in the house of the other top American League team was a laudable effort. They’ll look to continue their positive short-term efforts by heading up the Pacific Coast to play the Seattle Mariners with the first contest on tap for tonight.
Seattle, led by former Tigers’ hitting coach Lloyd McClendon, has been sputtering a bit lately, losing four of their last six games.
Detroit Tigers (30-20) at Seattle Mariners (26-27) — 10:10 P.M. EDT
Safeco Field — Seattle, WA
TV: Fox Sports Detroit
Radio: 97.1 The Ticket (click for radio affiliates)
Weather: 67 degrees, partly cloudy
When We Last Met
The Tigers have had their problems with the pesky Mariners over the years (being swept at home in 2011 and 2012 comes to mind), but they turned that around last year to dominate Seattle by winning four of the six games, including two of three in Seattle last April. The common denominator between the two losses was the Mariners’ starter, Hisashi Iwakuma, who dominated the Detroit lineup in both games. Don’t look now, but Iwakuma is the M’s starter tonight.
Fans usually take the panic-first mentality with Tigers’ starter Justin Verlander (5-4, 4.04). If he throws a ball during a no-hitter, fans become concerned. I’m usually a more even-keeled type of fan because I know how JV finished last year and started this year, but even I am getting a tad bit uneasy about his recent stretch. Verlander has allowed 15 runs in his last three games, including six runs on nine hits in just over five innings of work in a 12-4 destruction against Texas on Sunday. He has just three strikeouts in the last two games and just doesn’t look in command. Hopefully it’s just a passing slump, but we’ll find that out tonight.
Verlander and the Tigers figure to have little margin of error against Iwakuma (3-1, 2.39) because of their history against the right hander, which includes two 2013 shutouts–2-0 in Seattle and 8-0 in Detroit. The third-year Japanese import has been steady this year, but allowed a season-high four runs in a loss to Houston on Sunday. Iwakuma had allowed just two runs in his three previous starts.
- Rajai Davis- Questionable
- Luke Putkonen – 15-day DL
- Joel Hanrahan – Out indefinitely
- Andy Dirks – 60-day DL
- Jose Iglesias – 60-day DL
- Bruce Rondon – Out for season