The Detroit Tigers begin a four-game series against the Oakland Athletics at Comerica Park on Thursday afternoon.
Both the Detroit Tigers and Oakland A’s come into this series in the midst of losing streaks and are looking to get back on track. Both squads have had their share of struggles throughout the season. Oakland is currently 19-25 which slots them last in the AL West, meanwhile, Detroit has not fared much better at 18-23 with the 4th position in the AL Central.
If the Tigers want to win against the A’s, they need to gain their composure back on the mound. Over the course of May, the Tigers have given up 6.57 runs a game. Just this past series against the Astros, the Tigers gave up eight home runs.
Of course, the Oakland Athletics are not the Houston Astros. It makes sense for the Tigers to struggle against Houston as they are the AL leaders in RBIs, batting average, and hits. The A’s, on the other hand, have been scoring about 4.4 runs a game this campaign with a team batting average of .236.
These stats should not scare anyone, but when compared to Detroit’s numbers, it gets a bit dicey. Detroit is currently last in the AL with home runs and RBIs. This year they have only been able to manage 3.41 runs a game with a batting average of .223. The Tigers have not found any solution for their problems at the plate.
Where things start to look up for Detroit is when you begin to look at who is starting on the mound of this series. The first three games, Tiger fans should expect to see Spencer Turnbull, Daniel Norris, then Matthew Boyd. The small bright spot for the season so far has been the productivity of these men when they are on the mound.
The rookie Turnbull has the 4th best ERA in the AL at 2.42. Boyd has been averaging a little over one strikeout an inning and sports a WHIP of 0.99. Then, Norris has allowed 14 earned runs in the 34.2 innings he has pitched. These men have become pivotal players in our pitching rotation, and some could become interesting trade pieces down the road for potential prospects. Turnbull, Boyd, and Norris should all be able to hold Oakland at bay this series.
Even if Detroit’s pitchers are able to play well, they are going to need to score comfortably. The Tigers are going to be trying to hit on Oakland pitchers Chris Bassitt and Frankie Montas whose combined ERA this year is an impressive 2.67.
The last seven days, many Tigers have found it difficult to create anything concrete at the plate. Hitters who have been producing substantial hitting numbers this year have gone a bit cold this past week. Miguel Cabrera is hitting .150 in his last 20 at-bats. In his last seven games, Niko Goodrum is striking out 25% of the time when he gets to the plate. Disappointing showings have spoiled Christin Stewart‘s long-anticipated return. To top it all off, Jeimer Candelario was sent back to Toledo this Wednesday after a string of lackluster results.
If the Detroit Tigers want to get successful results against Oakland, they need to continue the solid work from their starting pitchers and shake off the inadequate production at the plate.
First pitch between the Tigers and Athletics is set for 1:10 pm Thursday afternoon from Comerica Park.