Unlike the Rays and Phillies, the Oakland Athletics are a known commodity to the Tigers this season. Detroit took three of four from the A’s in a home series in late April.
The Tigers will now make the return trip to the Bay Area, and hopefully achieve a similar result.
As it stands, the A’s are currently 19-23 and five games back of first place in the American League West. While Oakland has a similar record to the Tigers, the Athletics’ run differential suggests a different story. Only the Twins at -68 have a worse run differential in the American League than the A’s -42.
As the run differential would suggest, Oakland has trouble putting runs on offense. The A’s are ranked towards the middle of the pack in both runs scored and runs per game, but they have the fifth-worst team on-base percentage in the league. In other words, if Tigers pitching is up to task, Detroit can have some success.
Michael Fulmer is slated to start the first game of the series against fellow highly-touted youngster Sean Manaea. Following that, Jordan Zimmermann will take the mound and face Jesse Hahn, while Mike Pelfrey will wrap up the series against Rich Hill. Pelfrey lost to Hill in the only game that Oakland won in the first series between the two teams.