If the Detroit Tigers continue to win against teams at Comerica Park, the next series against the Seattle Mariners could be a good one.
But, if the bullpen continues to implode and lose games, then Tigers fans could be in for three long games.
The Seattle Mariners are a different team than they were in 2015. There are still many recognizable names, like Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz. But, the team does have a new manager in Scott Servais and a new general manager in Jerry Dipoto. The previous manager, Lloyd McClendon is in Toledo working with the Mud Hens and the previous general manager Jack Zduriencik is now working with the Pittsburgh Pirates in their broadcast booth.
The team that went 76-86 and finished fourth in the AL West in 2015 is currently 36-32 and in second place.
One player on the team is dominating every statistic: Robinson Cano. The Tigers are used to watching one of the best second basemen in the MLB on a nightly basis; but, when the Mariners are in town, Tigers fans will get to watch two of the best. Cano has a slash of .301/.352/.563 with 16 doubles, 19 home runs, and 53 RBIs. Contrast that with Ian Kinsler who has a slash of .307/.360/.526 with 14 doubles, 14 home runs, and 45 RBIs. We, fans, will have some good hitting to watch in the next three days.
One thing that is going for the Tigers is the fact that the Mariners’ ace pitcher, Felix Hernandez, is on the 15-day DL with a right calf strain. Their other top pitcher, Wade Miley, is out with shoulder impingement. To make matters worse for the Mariners, the team has been on a losing streak, losing 7 of the last 10.
To compensate for their injured pitchers, the Mariners have seen a stream of minor league players come and go.
Monday night’s game will see Mike Pelfrey and his 4.79 ERA face Nate Karns who has a 4.06 ERA. Karns has won five games to Pelfrey’s one. Pelfrey has very little experience pitching against the Mariners, but he has a low 2.03 ERA in the 13 innings he has pitched. As a whole, the Tigers have not seen much of Karns, either. The team has a .300 batting average against him; Justin Upton has hit earned a hit in the three plate appearances he has had against him. This could be a positive for Upton who seems to be moving in a positive direction at the plate.
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Tuesday night’s game should feature Justin Verlander against James Paxton. This game should be a win for the Tigers, simply because Verlander is continuing to pitch like an ace and Paxton has a 4.50 ERA in the last seven days. Miguel Cabrera is batting .600 against him and Victor Martinez has an OPS of 1.000 against him.
Wednesday night’s game should be a duel between Hisashi Iwakuma and Michael Fulmer. The 35-year-old Iwakuma has a 4.15 ERA and a WHIP of 1.26. The Tigers have numerous plate appearances against him. Kinsler alone has faced him 29 times and has a .379 BA with an OPS of 1.196. Victor Martinez has also been successful against him with a .500 BA and OPS of 1.655. Jarrod Saltalamacchia might even catch in Wednesday’s game, because Salty also has a .500 BA and an OPS 1.125. The Mariners have not yet faced Michael Fulmer, but it is doubtful that they will get a win against him.
As long as the bullpen doesn’t destroy any leads, the Tigers should be able to win this series. The only questionable outing could be Pelfrey’s, simply because all of Pelfrey’s outings are questionable. Hopefully, this three-game series in the D will not be anywhere near as ugly as the one against Kansas City was.