The Detroit Tigers have a handful of starting pitchers on the injured list and they’re hoping Tyler Alexander can fill one of those voids.
Alexander has mainly been used as a long reliever but he’s in the rotation for the time being. He’ll start a Thursday matinee against Texas as the Tigers try to extend their six-game winning streak while the Rangers will seek to end an eight-game slide. Detroit has won the first three games of the series.
Alexander, a 27-year-old left-hander, started the second game of a doubleheader against Minnesota on Saturday. He lasted 3 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on four hits.
The following day, manager A.J. Hinch notified the media he’ll leave Alexander in a starting role, at least until some of his injured hurlers return.
“He doesn’t get a lot of love all the time because he gets a little bit of the grunt work and he gets put in where I can put him in,” Hinch said. “I ask him to do some things that he has to prepare for mentally without knowing if the opportunity will even come. I appreciate his attitude, his effort and preparedness. He’s got guts, which I love. He’s not afraid of the strike zone and not afraid of the hitter, right-handed or left-handed.”
The Tigers are hopeful they’ll get Matthew Boyd and Jose Urena back in action in a few weeks. They learned this week that Spencer Turnbull, who tossed a no-hitter this season, will require Tommy John surgery.
Alexander (1-1, 4.40 ERA), who has made 13 starts in 54 major league appearances, is looking forward to the challenge.
“Pitching is pitching, no matter what inning I come in, whether it’s starting or relieving,” said Alexander, who gave up four runs in 5 2/3 innings during his lone career start against the Rangers. “I just try to prepare my body to be ready to throw every day. The routines (between starting and relieving) are different, but the mentality has to stay the same.”
He’ll be opposed by Mike Foltynewicz (2-9, 5.91 ERA), who has surrendered a major league high 28 homers in 102 innings. Foltynewicz was shelled by Toronto on Sunday, giving up 10 runs and four long balls in just 1 2/3 innings.
Foltynewicz will be on a pitch count limit while starting on three days’ rest.
He’s faced Detroit only once in his career, allowing five runs in five innings.
Detroit hit three home runs in its 4-2 win on Wednesday, including rookie Akil Baddoo’s eighth long ball.
“Our guys understand we can be a good offense from a couple of different areas,” Hinch said. “The young guys who have come up here have been a quick study on the league and they’re trying to make a fast impression with their legs and their bats.”
Texas has been outscored 59-10 during its losing streak. The Rangers were held to five hits in their latest defeat.
“I thought we could have done a better job,” manager Chris Woodward said. “I know we’re not hammering the ball all over the place right now. … We had some decent pitches to hit.”
–Field Level Media