After riding a series-by-series rollercoaster on a 10-game road trip, the Detroit Tigers play their first home game in nearly two weeks.
They’ll host the Pittsburgh Pirates for three games, beginning on Tuesday night.
Detroit went 3-7 on the road, dropping three straight in Cleveland, sweeping a three-game set in Houston and then unraveling in four straight losses in Oakland.
The Tigers’ skid began Thursday when their pitchers issued 12 walks. They were blanked the next two games, then lost a 3-2 walk-off decision on Sunday. Center fielder Victor Reyes lost a ball in the sun, allowing Matt Olson to reach second base in the ninth. Olson scored on third baseman Jeimer Candelario’s two-out error.
The Tigers couldn’t wait to leave the West Coast.
“The first few series of the year are long gone. The series at Houston is long gone,” manager AJ Hinch said. “We’re going to go home, get an off day and get a fresh start at home against a new team.”
The only runs the offense has produced in the last three games were on Harold Castro’s two-run single on Sunday.
Hinch tinkers with the lineup on an every-game basis, and that’s not going to change.
“There’s a lot that goes into it,” he said. “The days of it being the everyday single lineup all the time, for me, has been over for a long time. I think around the league you see the versatility of lineups. It’s a daily responsibility to check the board and see where you’re hitting.”
Jonathan Schoop tops the list of struggling batters. Schoop has no homers and a .163 average in 49 at-bats. Rookie Akil Baddoo got off to a blazing start with four homers and 11 RBIs in his first nine games. He went 0-for-11 in the A’s series, striking out eight times.
Michael Fulmer (1-0, 3.00 ERA) will start the series opener for Detroit. Fulmer, whose career was sidetracked by Tommy John surgery, earned his first win since 2018 in his first start this season at Houston. He lasted five innings and gave up two runs on Wednesday.
He is 0-1 with a 0.64 ERA in two starts against the Pirates.
He’ll be opposed by Tyler Anderson (1-2, 4.02 ERA), who also collected his first victory this season on Wednesday. Anderson held San Diego to one run in 5 1/3 innings. He’ll be facing the Tigers for the first time in his career.
The Pirates have won six of their last nine games, including a 6-5, 10-inning triumph at Milwaukee on Sunday. They took two of three from the Brewers over the weekend.
“Obviously, it’s good to win the series,” outfielder Bryan Reynolds said. “We had a rough start (and) to answer back the way we have speaks a lot to who we are as a team. We’ll just keep it going.”
Third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes, who has played only two games due to a left wrist strain, could return in the series. He hit off a pitching machine on Sunday.
“He took both live batting practice swings and velocity swings,” manager Derek Shelton said. “Velocity is something that’s important for all hitters, just because of the vibration of the bat, and he looked fine doing it. There were no issues at all.”
–Field Level Media