May 5, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers third basemanNick Castellanos
(9) receives congratulations from right atielderTorii Hunter
(48) after scoring in the seventh inning against the Houston Astros at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
The Detroit Tigers extended their winning streak to six games last night with their series-opening victory over the Houston Astros. They’ll look for number seven tonight in a game with plenty of intrigue: starting pitcher Robbie Ray — the big part of the haul from the Doug Fister trade — will make his debut tonight.
Detroit Tigers (18-9) vs. Houston Astros (10-22) — 7:08 PM ET
Comerica Park — Detroit, MI
TV: Fox Sports Detroit
Radio: 97.1 The Ticket (click for radio affiliates)
Weather: 58 degrees, partly cloudy
When We Last Met
Max Scherzer was dominant through eight innings on Monday night (9 SO, 1 BB, 3 H) and Joe Nathan nailed down the save as the Tigers beat the Astros 2-0. The bats were quieter after pummeling the Kansas City Royals over the weekend, but managed to scratch out two runs (one with the benefit of a Houston fielding error) which was enough to get past the Astros.
Robbie Ray will make his major league debut for the Tigers tonight in place of the injured Anibal Sanchez (finger laceration). Ray has typically shown a penchant for strikeouts in the minor leagues — 8.9 K/9 for his pro career — but that rate has fallen this year in AAA (6.4 K/9). I’m willing to chalk up a great deal of that to small sample size, but there might also be an adjustment to facing more advanced hitters. He’s been able to cut into his walk rate as well (just 1.5 BB/9) so he’s been a very good pitcher overall in the International League. Not 1.59 good, as his ERA suggests, but perhaps more like his 2.96 FIP.
Good or bad just remember: no matter what happens this was just one game.
Brett Oberholtzer gets the nod for the Astros. He’s not having a great go of things this season, at least in terms of results — he holds a 5.63 ERA — but his peripherals look better than that. His strikeout rate at 18.6% is a tick below average, but he’s been stingy with allowing walks at the same time (6.9%). His 4.18 FIP and 4.25 xFIP suggest he’s been something close to average as a starting pitcher.
- Ian Kinsler, 2B
- Torii Hunter, RF
- Miguel Cabrera, 1B
- Victor Martinez, DH
- J.D. Martinez, LF
- Austin Jackson, CF
- Nick Castellanos, 3B
- Alex Avila, C
- Danny Worth, SS
- Anibal Sanchez – 15-day DL
- Luke Putkonen – 15-day DL
- Joel Hanrahan – 15-day DL
- Andy Dirks – 60-day DL
- Jose Iglesias – 60-day DL
- Bruce Rondon – 60-day DL