Detroit Tigers (44-44) vs Baltimore Orioles (44-44) — 7:08 PM ET
Comerica Park — Detroit, MI
Radio: 97.1 The Ticket (click for affiliates)
Weather: 82 degrees, scattered thunderstorms
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The underachieving Detroit Tigers begin the second-half of their season with 74 games to right the ship and gain a fifth straight playoff berth. It will be a tough mountain to climb as the Tigers have two teams in front of them in the AL Central and two teams nipping at their heals from behind. They are nine games behind the first-place Kansas City Royals and 3.5 behind the second-place Minnesota Twins. Meanwhile they are just two games up on both the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians.
Things are not as dire in the wild-card race just yet, but Detroit finds themselves 3.5 games out of the final spot with two teams in front of them.
One of those teams is the Baltimore Orioles, the team that the Tigers dominated in the 2014 regular season but dispatched them in three quick games of the ALDS last October. The Orioles have had an up and down season, spending time in last place and first place this season, but a 2-8 stretch to end the first half pushed them four games out of first, and a half game out of second place.
Aside from some meaningless Spring Training Games, this will be the first time these teams have met this season.
When We Last Met
Let’s not rehash this one more than we need to, shall we? After taking five of six in the regular season series, the favored Tigers were swept in three games by the Orioles in the postseason. Baltimore was in turn swept by the Kansas City Royals in the ALDS.
Anibal Sanchez (8-7, 4.63) looks to continue his efforts after a strong close to the first half saw him go 5-0 over his last six starts. Although home runs remain an issue for Sanchez, allowing 19 homers in 118.2 innings pitched this year (just one mark from tying his career high for an entire season, set in 2011 and 2012), he has been able to mitigate the damage better lately.
He has only pitched against Baltimore twice in the regular season in his career, winning once against no defeats, sporting a 4.35 ERA. He pitched two scoreless innings against the Orioles while protecting a lead out of the bullpen in ALDS Game 2, but was removed because he missed six weeks with injury and the bullpen blew the game and likely the series after his departure.
We used to call Ubaldo Jimenez (7-4, 2.81) the gift that keeps of giving when he was a member of the Cleveland Indians from 2011 to 2013. Through his career in stops with the Rockies, Indians and now Orioles, Jimenez is 5-9 with a 4.93 ERA in 17 games against the Tigers, but he has really put it all together during his second year in Baltimore. He has allowed just one run over his last three starts headed to the All-Star break.
Detroit Tigers Lineup
- Ian Kinsler-2B
- Yoenis Cespedes-LF
- Victor Martinez-DH
- J.D. Martinez-RF
- Nick Castellanos-3B
- Alex Avila-1B
- James McCann-C
- Jose Iglesias-SS
- Anthony Gose-CF