Fresh off of a frustrating 3-game sweep at the hands of the Indians, the Tigers will head to Baltimore for the final series of the year. Cleveland swept Detroit for the 2nd time in a row at Progressive Field, taking out Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander in the process. The sweep further illuminates the Tigers’ massive struggle away from Comerica Park this year. Detroit’s impressive home record (52-29) has been muddled by their atrocious road record of 28-49. The Tigers’ overall record stands at 80-78. The Tigers need 1 more win to finish with at least a .500 record and 2 more to finish 2010 with a winning record.
The Tigers are 4-2 this year against the Orioles and will be looking to finish on a high note as they head into an all-important offseason. Baltimore is 63-95, which includes a 34-43 record at Camden Yards. The O’s have played much better since new manager Buck Showalter took over and they too will be looking to finish the year strong.
Miguel Cabrera’s ankle sprain will keep him out for the rest of the season. What a year it was for the big fella. He will finish the year with a .328 average, 38 homers, 126 RBI’s, 111 runs, and 45 doubles. I think it’s safe to say that the middle of the Tigers’ order is in good hands with Cabrera for the foreseeable future.
Rain has forced Thursday’s series opener to be canceled, meaning the Tigers will play their 2nd doubleheader in the span of 3 days on Friday to kick things off in Baltimore.
Game 1 – Friday, 4:35 eastern – Jeremy Bonderman (8-9) v. Chris Tillman (1-5) – Jeremy (5.18 ERA, 111 K’s) will be making his last start as a Detroit Tiger in this one. It’s been a long run for JB since he came over in the Jeff Weaver trade from Oakland 8 years ago as a promising 19-year old. Injuries have derailed what looked to be a bright career and now he will try to even his record in 2010 and hit the free agent market with some negotiating power. Tillman (6.56 ERA, 24 K’s) had his 2010 highlight occur when he threw a no-hitter down in the minors a few months ago. The 22-year old continues to struggle at the major league level.
Game 2 – Friday, approx. 7:35 eastern – Rick Porcello (10-11) v. Jeremy Guthrie (10-14) – Porcello (5.01 ERA, 80 K’s) will also be looking to even up his record for the season in his final start. After where he started this year, to get to 11-11 would be quite an accomplishment. Don’t think that fact is lost on him. He has won his last 5 decisions and hasn’t lost since August 19th. His last start was an 8-inning, 1-run gem against the Twins. Guthrie (3.98 ERA, 114 K’s) shut the Tigers out over 7 innings 3 starts ago but has given up 10 runs in his last 2 starts combined.
Game 3 – Saturday, 7:05 eastern – Armando Galarraga (4-8) v. Brian Matusz (9-12) – Two pitchers who have been decent, but not great, square off in this one. Armando (4.62 ERA, 67 K’s) has been pounded in his last 3 outings, taking a loss in each, and will be trying to finish the season on a high note and keep his name in the running as the 5th starter next year. Matusz (4.40 ERA, 134 K’s) is a talented lefty who can strike batters out in bunches when he’s on. Over his last 6 starts he has really put it together with only 7 earned runs allowed during that stretch. He has won 5 of those starts and hasn’t lost since August 14th. The 23-year old has dropped his ERA almost a full point since his last loss.
Game 4 – Sunday, 1:05 eastern – TBD v. Brad Bergesen (8-11) – Max Scherzer is the scheduled starter but he got bumped back a day due to the rain in Cleveland and would be pitching on short rest. It remains to be seen if Jim Leyland will run him out there for the finale. Bergesen (5.02 ERA, 77 K’s) is a 25-year old right-hander who has had good stretches and bad ones this year. Detroit should be able to score plenty in the season finale.