Tigers Make First Trip to Target Field


For the first time is what seems like forever, the Detroit Tigers won’t have to play in that dreadful dome anymore. I don’t like that place, the Metrodome. Home now only to the Vikings, the Twins have moved into their new digs; open-air Target Field.

Detroit is making their first trip to Minnesota this season, their first since game 163 last year. The Tigers took two of three in Detroit versus the Twins last week and find themselves just a half game behind the division leaders heading into play tonight.

The Tigers, winners of five straight and six of seven, will look to right hander Max Scherzer to get the series off to a strong start.

Scherzer (1-1, 4.23) was roughed up in his first career appearance versus Minnesota in last Wednesday’s game, but had been very good in his first four starts for the Tigers. He matched up in that game against Scott Baker, whom he will see again tonight.

Baker (2-2, 5.72) allowed five runs in four innings of an eventual 11-6 win for Detroit. Neither starter factored into the decision in that game.

Baker has made two starts at home this year, posting a 5.68 ERA in 12.2 innings. He allowed seven hits and two runs over seven strong in his debut at the new stadium on April 16 versus Kansas City, but then was touched up for 10 hits and six runs in just 5.2 innings versus Cleveland on April 22.

The Twins have enjoyed playing at home this season, posting a record of 6-3 at Target Field. The Tigers are 7-7 on the road this year.

Scherzer and company will likely not have to face Joe Mauer in any of the series’ three games as he has been called week-to-week by manager Ron Gardenhire. Mauer left Friday’s game with Cleveland with a deep bruise in his heel and has not played in the two games since. Rookie Wilson Ramos made his debut yesterday and had four hits in the Tins win over the Indians.

This is just the first week of May, there is still a ton of season in front of us, but anytime the top two clubs in the division square off, the series takes on extra significance. If the Tigers can win the series, they will find themselves alone in first place. They won’t have to see Fransisco Liriano in this series, nor Mauer. Of course they also won’t have Justin Verlander working for them either.

Verlander used his start yesterday to have a positive impact on this series in another way. By working into the ninth, he kept the Tigers relievers sitting throughout the game. In fact, not only did Detroit have to use just one reliever,  but Jose Valverde was the only pitcher who even warmed up. That day off for the Tigers overused bullpen should be a big help heading into the series with Minnesota.