Detroit Tigers off-day AL Central viewing guide


May 13, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Boston Red Sox designated hitter

David Ortiz

(34) warms up on deck in the sixth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Setting some sort of record for this season, the Detroit Tigers had gone 13 days without taking a day off or being a part of a rain-out. Today, however, they take a pause from a smashing start to their road trip after sweeping the AL East-leading Baltimore Orioles.

This weekend will feature a return to Fenway Park, a house of horrors of sorts for the Tigers. The last time they were there, they were eliminated from the postseason and Prince Fielder announced that it was “over, bro” and reminded us that he had kids. Little did he know his Tigers’ career was also over, bro.

The three weekend games in Boston are all at night, including a rare Detroit appearance on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. The Red Sox? Well, they appear on SNB so much that if it was a movie, the name “Boston Red Sox” would appear above the movie’s title.

So with the Tigers firing on all cylinders, we’re all thirsty for some baseball, right? Here’s an AL Central viewing guide so you can catch our rivals in action on MLB Extra Innings or MLB.TV if you’re blessed to have these baseball lover necessities.

Boston Red Sox (20-19) at Minnesota Twins (18-20):  1:05 PM

Clay Buchholz (2-3, 6.44) vs. Phil Hughes (4-1, 3.92)

The Red Sox are likely not fans of the schedulers as they are stuck in Minnesota for another game while the Tigers arrived in Boston yesterday evening. Hopefully that’s an advantage for the road warriors (11-4 road mark) as they’ll be more rested and relaxed than the home team.

This is the rubber match of the three-game series as the Twins won game one with a walk-off homer and the Red Sox slugged their way to a 9-4 win. If Phil Hughes is as good as he looked against the Tigers this year, the Red Sox could be in trouble.

Boston is definitely having post-World Series struggles in the early going, but they are in good shape in the AL East, among a log-jam of teams vying for first and second in the division. Meanwhile, Minny is holding strong near .500 and doing much better than most of us thought heading into the season.

Cleveland Indians (19-21) vs. Toronto Blue Jays:  7:07 PM

Danny Salazar (1-3, 5.65) vs. J.A. Happ (1-1, 4.63)

The downside to the Tigers playing on Sunday night is they will get to Cleveland late, likely in the wee hours of Monday morning, and have to turn around and play a night game at Progressive Field. That will likely advantage the Indians, who have played a bit better of late, going 6-4 in their last 10.

One of those six wins was last night, when the Tribe exploded for 22 hits while scoring 15 runs. This will serve as the deciding game in this series after Toronto took the first, 5-4 on Tuesday.

Baltimore Orioles (20-18) vs. Kansas City Royals (20-19): 8:10 PM

Wei-Yin Chen (4-2, 3.95) vs. Yordano Ventura (2-2, 2.34)

The Kansas City Royals have been the hottest team not named Tigers in the AL Central recently. They’ve moved into second place by a game and a half, 5.5 games behind Detroit, after a home sweep of the Colorado Rockies.

They’ll face the Baltimore Orioles, limping in after a battering from the Tigers. The Orioles’ offense has been better on the road than in Camden Yards (which somewhat defies logic), so they will likely look forward to getting on the road as they look to snap their four-game losing streak.

Baltimore was afraid of the Tigers’ righty lineup mashing lefty Chen, so he’ll get the start today against KC. It should be a good pitching match, with Ventura opposing him, boasting a low ERA.

Like the Tigers, the Chicago White Sox are also off today.