Series Preview – Detroit Tigers vs. Minnesota Twins
The Tigers head to Minnesota this week, after dropping two out of three in Texas over the weekend. That series loss would be a lot sadder if the Rangers weren’t the best team in the American League. But it did put Detroit two games behind the White Sox, with no indication that Chicago will miss a beat in the near future. The White Sox did lose Paul Konerko for a few days (placed on the 7-day Concussion List), but that won’t keep them from succeeding. It’s now or never for the Tigers, and the Twins are the perfect foe for the job.
Monday – 8/13/12
Anibal Sanchez vs. Sam Deduno
Sanchez hasn’t exactly proven his total worth to the club just yet. After coming over from the Marlins, he was less than great against the Blue Jays, but rebounded nicely against Cleveland, before getting even worse against the Yankees last week. He hasn’t found any consistency, and the offense has been remarkably quiet on the days he’s pitched. But it’s not all their fault, as Sanchez has given up at least seven hits in all three of his starts for the Tigers. Like Rick Porcello, that many hits will translate into runs eventually. So hopefully this is his chance to get on track. Sanchez has never faced the Twins, but he does have some history against a couple of bigger bats in the lineup, including Ryan Doumit and Josh Willingham. Neither has had any success against him, so hopefully that will be translated into a win in Game One.
For a Twins team that has been bogged down by below average starting pitchers this season, Deduno is a welcomed breath of fresh air. So far, the rookie is 3-0 with a 3.26 ERA over six starts. Unfortunately for Detroit, no one has ever faced him before. Which, given the way this season has gone, means that they will proceed to make him look like a 10-year veteran pitcher with a crushing repertoire of pitches.
Tuesday – 8/14/12
Doug Fister vs. Brian Duensing
Doug Fister has been remarkably better in the second half, putting together quality starts in his last six outings. He’s the Doug Fister that came over from Seattle last summer, and before the season’s over, his numbers will reflect this marked turnaround. Fister has taken a lot of heat against Minnesota though, with a 1-6 record and 4.36 ERA. Hopefully the Tigers come through for him, and he can pitch another gem to match the effort. It would seem, however, that besides from Denard Span and Justin Morneau, most of the flak that Fister has take from Minnesota came from players who are no longer with the team. So maybe that will be what Fister needs to turn things around.
Duensing has been just terrible all season long. He’s 2-7, with a 4.46 ERA, which means not only is he giving up a fair number of runs, but the offense isn’t showing up when he pitches (also good for Fister). It doesn’t help that he’s has a 4.45 ERA against the Tigers, so the Detroit bats come to play when he’s on the mound.
Wednesday – 8/15/12
Max Scherzer vs. Cole De Vries
Not enough good things can be said about how Scherzer has performed this season. He’s on pace to be neck and neck with Justin Verlander in both team wins and strikeouts, which are two feats that no one has come close to accomplishing in the last four years. Max has bee excellent, and hopefully he can keep it up through the remaining month and a half of the season. Minnesota may not be a good place to do so, though, as he has a career 6.28 ERA against the Twins. Despite having a ballooned ERA, though, Max hasn’t taken many losses against the Twins. Which must mean that the offense really picks up the slack, giving him a lot of no-decisions. But, with the way he’s been pitching lately, hopefully a “few” runs won’t be an issue.
If anyone is going to be ripe for the picking, it’s De Vries. He’s only seen two innings of playtime against Detroit, but he’s given up runs over those innings. So he is prone to giving up some runs against this team. That’ll bode well for the Tigers. Especially since both of those RBIs came from Miguel Cabrera, who is 1/1 with a home run against him. So, assuming his ankle isn’t broken or anything, except Cabrera to really get loose in this game.
Game 1: Twins
Game 2: Tigers
Game 3: Tigers
Final: Tigers win series 2-1
There is no reason why Detroit shouldn’t sweep this series with relative ease, but Sanchez has yet to prove that he’s going to be any help this season, which leaves me wondering how he’ll perform here. Take into account, as well, that the Tigers really have struggled this season with figuring out rookie pitchers, and Deduno could give them fits. Fister and Scherzer have been too good lately (and the Twins too bad) for me to think that they will run into too much trouble. Even for a fly ball pitcher like Scherzer, Target Field should be okay (the ballpark doesn’t give up a lot of home runs). So I think the Tigers will come away with a series win.