The Detroit Tigers hope to continue their success against the host Cleveland Guardians when the teams close the pre-All-Star break portion of the schedule with a four-game series that starts Thursday night.
The Tigers are 7-2 against the Guardians this year, including a four-game sweep in Detroit from July 4-6. It was Detroit’s first four-game sweep of Cleveland since 2013.
The Tigers are trying to win their first season series over the Guardians since 2015, when they went 11-7.
Detroit rookie Elvin Rodriguez (0-2, 11.51 ERA) is set to start against Cleveland for the second time. The right-hander pitched four scoreless innings vs. the Guardians on May 29 in a no-decision. He gave up two hits and no walks while striking out four.
Rodriguez will face right-hander Triston McKenzie (6-6, 3.47), who leads the Cleveland staff in wins. McKenzie is 2-1 with a stellar 1.17 ERA in five career starts against the Tigers, though he lost to them on May 29 when he gave up two runs in 7 2/3 innings.
Detroit lost to 5-2 at Kansas City on Wednesday as the Royals took three of four in the series. After winning six in a row, the Tigers have cooled off, dropping five of their past six contests.
Detroit second baseman Jonathan Schoop heads into the Cleveland series riding an 11-game hitting streak. He is 17-for-46 (.370) during the surge.
Tigers designated hitter Miguel Cabrera is tied for 15th with Paul Molitor on the all-time doubles list with 605. His 5,220 total bases are one behind Dave Winfield for 16th place.
Additionally, the 39-year-old veteran stole third base on Tuesday — his first theft since the 2020 season and the 40th of his career.
“It’s like Rickey Henderson says, ‘When you go, you gotta go,'” Cabrera said. “You don’t think — you just go. I always have that on my mind. Rickey says that, so you gotta do it. Why would you do something different?”
The Guardians are coming off a split in a four-game series with the Chicago White Sox, having dropped the finale 2-1 on Wednesday. Cleveland not only lost starting pitcher Aaron Civale after one inning to right-wrist soreness, but catcher Luke Maile appeared to have symptoms of a concussion.
Manager Terry Francona said Civale received an MRI exam during the game.
“We don’t know (the result),” Francona said. “He has felt it for a little bit.”
Maile got hit with a foul tip in the ninth inning, leaving him a bit dazed. Maile assured the team trainer and Francona that he was all right and stayed in the game.
Maile was examined by doctors after the game. If Cleveland had tied the game and sent it into extra innings, Maile wasn’t going to come out for the 10th, the manager said. Starting catcher Austin Hedges was lifted for a pinch hitter in the seventh, with Maile taking over behind the plate.
The Guardians were going to send in infielder Ernie Clement to catch but didn’t want him behind the plate against right-hander Emmanuel Clase, who possesses a 100 mph fastball.
“(We were a) little worried about him,” Francona said of Maile.
Don’t be surprised if the Guardians recall Sandy Leon from Triple-A Columbus on Thursday. Cleveland acquired the 33-year-old catcher from the Cincinnati Reds in a cash deal last month. Leon went 2-for-15 (.133) in eight games for the Guardians before he was outrighted to the minors on Sunday.
–Field Level Media