Thank you interleague play. The Tigers won another series and it was their first since they swept the Twins and it’s just their second series win since they took two of three against the Pirates in mid-May. Sunday’s win was particularly fun because not only did they come back from a nice sized deficit, but they did it against the nearly unhittable Aroldis Chapman. Now the Tigers have three games against one of the worst teams in baseball, the Chicago Cubs. Let’s do a glass half full piece and look at some of the positives.
Austin Jackson is back. He was one of the starts on Sunday and he still has the team’s best OPS with .955. Also on offense, Miguel Carbera and Prince Fielder are having good (but unfortunately not great) seasons. If one or two other guys get their stuff together, this offense can really start humming. Even with all of their struggles this year, they’re sixth in the American League in runs scored (263) and fifth in OPS (.742).
On the pitching side, Verlander has been Verlander. His walk rate is up a little as has his hit rate but his home run rate is down. Ignore the 5-4 record because that’s pointless but he’s a couple of good starts from being right where he was at last year. After that is where I get worried. Doug Fister is on the shelf again and everyone else has been erratic. Casey Crosby has struggled and while I think he’ll be a good back of the rotation pitcher, he just doesn’t look ready yet. Even more important has been Jacob Turner’s struggles for the Hens. It wouldn’t surprise me if we see Thad Weber up soon. He’s not a blue chip, but he’s been the best of the rotation farm hands with Toledo this year.
Tonight it’ll be Max Scherzer against Paul Maholm. Sherzer was roughed up in his last start against the Indians but prior to that, he had three decent starts in a row. Maholm hasn’t had a good season but he’s been very good against Prince Fielder. Prince is just six for 48 with no extra base hits in his career against Maholm. He’s given up nine home runs in 60 innings though so I expect a home run or two today.