Detroit Tigers News

Detroit Tigers: Previewing the Baltimore Orioles

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BOSTON, MA - APRIL 15: Trey Mancini #16 of the Baltimore Orioles returns to the dugout after scoring in the first inning of a game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on April 15, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. All players are wearing #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 15: Trey Mancini #16 of the Baltimore Orioles returns to the dugout after scoring in the first inning of a game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on April 15, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. All players are wearing #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /
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The Detroit Tigers, fresh off five straight losses and a trio of rainouts, will host the 5-11 Baltimore Orioles this week.

The Detroit Tigers are not the only team having trouble getting games in this season. Rainouts have impacted a huge chunk of baseball so far this year. Detroit’s next opponent, the Baltimore Orioles, just had a game rained out on Monday. They’ve adjusted their pitching matchups accordingly, leaving the Tigers and Orioles to line up like this:

Tuesday, April 17: Andrew Cashner vs. Francisco Liriano

Wednesday, April 18: Kevin Gausman vs. Matthew Boyd

Thursday, April 19: Chris Tillman vs. Jordan Zimmermann

Instead of making some guesses about the Baltimore Orioles, we decided to speak with Ben Palmer, a site expert at The Baltimore Wire, a FanSided site dedicated to the sports franchises in Baltimore. Here’s what he had to say about the upcoming series with the Detroit Tigers:

How have the Orioles looked so far this year? Any players that are exceeding (or not exceeding) expectations?

The Orioles have looked alright, probably about what I expected. The pitching has been rough, save for Dylan Bundy‘s excellent performance so far. Andrew Cashner has been off and on, it’ll be interesting to see how he turns out, but I’m not overly confident he’ll be able to replicate the success he had last year given his peripherals.

The offense, on the other hand, has been alright, if inconsistent. Chris Davis is still struggling mightily, unable to make contact hardly ever. Manny Machado has been hitting well, out to prove that last year’s disappointing slashline was largely BABIP-driven.

How do you expect the team to finish this season?

I expect the team to finish in third behind the Yankees and Red Sox. I could see them finishing fourth, I would expect they’ll be close with the Blue Jays, but I’ll give them third.

Andrew Cashner, Kevin Gausman and Chris Tillman are the expected starters this week. What can we expect to see?

Well you’re lucky you’re seeing Tillman, that’s for sure. Tillman hasn’t looked the same ever since his shoulder injury last year. He was a solid starting pitcher, but once he hurt his shoulder, it messed up his mechanics. His vertical release point has dropped significantly, which led to a loss in movement on his curveball. He’s just not the same pitcher, and I’m honestly still surprised he’s in the Orioles’ rotation.

As for Cashner and Gausman, who knows what you’re going to get. Cashner, like I said earlier, has had a lot of luck this year. He’s got a 2.50 ERA but a .190 BABIP and 5.70 FIP. He’s pretty hittable, doesn’t really strike guys out, but has had some decent starts so far, so who knows. Gausman has much better stuff than Cashner does, and Gausman made a change last year to where he stands on the rubber, moving closer to first base. It helped him control his fastball, and if he’s able to control it, that combined with his split-change could be deadly.

What are you most looking forward to about this series?

Honestly, I’m hoping that the Orioles can get back on track with this series. I’d love to see the Orioles grab a couple wins and get some momentum going, but who knows.

What to look out for

A couple things to watch out for in this three game series.

Can the Tigers offense get on track? You saw it from Ben above, but this isn’t exactly Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco or Trevor Bauer that the Tigers have to face. Hopefully Detroit’s offense can start to right the ship against more hittable pitching than Cleveland’s stellar rotation.

Who will take over in left? JaCoby Jones and Victor Reyes have done little to separate themselves since Mikie Mahtook was sent down to Triple-A. Expect Jones to get more opportunities for the time being, but someone needs to start to swing it if they want to earn the starting left field role. If no one steps up, Mahtook or possibly one of the stud outfielders in Triple-A will get a shot.

Can the lefties keep it up? Both Francisco Liriano and Matthew Boyd have gotten off to excellent starts so far this season. However, the Orioles hit left-handers well, posting a .250/.339/.410 slash line so far this year. Will Liriano and Boyd continue to impress, or will their luck run out? That will got a long way toward determining how this series goes.

Next: Ten Best Pitching Performances in Tigers History

First pitch on Tuesday is at 3:40. If the weather cooperates, look for the Detroit Tigers and the Baltimore Orioles each to try and right the ship from slow starts to the season. Should be a fun matchup this week.

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