The Detroit Tigers look to carry the momentum of their post-All Star break surge into a four-game home series against Texas, which begins on Monday.
The Tigers completed a three-game sweep of Minnesota on Sunday with a 7-0 romp. The Twins had swept Detroit in a four-game series just prior to the break.
“This is a weird sport,” Detroit manager AJ Hinch said. “They swept us last week and handled our bullpen. We come back this week and sweep them. Part of it is just baseball, and part of it is reacting to plays the right way.”
The Tigers looked sharp in all facets over the weekend. They recorded two shutouts, pulled out an extra-inning victory and ran the bases aggressively. On Sunday, the defense turned four double plays, and Jonathan Schoop and Jeimer Candelario homered and drove in three runs apiece.
“We continue to find different ways to score, and that’s the best version of us,” Hinch said.
The Tigers and Rangers met in Texas earlier this month, with Detroit winning two of three.
Tigers right-hander Casey Mize will make his first start since July 7, when he gave up two runs in four innings at Texas. Mize pitched only seven innings combined in his first two July starts, but he’s expected to ramp up again.
Both of the runs Mize allowed against the Rangers came on solo home runs by Joey Gallo. The homers traveled an estimated 440 and 462 feet as Mize missed his spots, first with a sinker and then with a fastball.
“I tried to go up and in,” Mize said. “He has a hole there if you can execute the pitch. Up and in he doesn’t handle as well as other stuff that he handles really well.”
It was Mize’s only appearance against the Rangers in his career.
Mize (5-5, 3.59 ERA) hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in any of his last 13 starts.
The Rangers will counter with All-Star Kyle Gibson (6-1, 2.29 ERA). The right-hander suffered his first loss of the season in the same game Mize pitched.
Gibson gave up five runs and eight hits – both season highs – in 6 1/3 innings. Candelario hit a solo homer off him.
Gibson has faced the Tigers 24 times in his career, going 10-10 with a 5.51 ERA.
While the Tigers are on the upswing, the Rangers are saddled with a five-game losing streak. Toronto swept a doubleheader from them on Sunday, including a 10-0 shutout in the nightcap.
“I want to see, when we’re up 10-0 or down 10-0 — especially down 10-0 — who’s hanging their head and who continues to fight,” manager Chris Woodward said. “I want guys to be frustrated. I don’t want guys to be happy or content, or just saying, ‘Whatever. It is what it is.’ I don’t want that. I want to see a little bit of frustration.”
Woodward is hopeful the Rangers can start turning things around in Detroit.
“Obviously, we have to finish strong. A lot of these guys, their future depends on it, honestly,” he said. “The way we’re going to make decisions after this year, we’re going to look to see who fits our future plans.”
–Field Level Media