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The Detroit Tigers play the first of four games at Target Field in Minneapolis on Thursday against the Minnesota Twins. Detroit is 39-47 and was defeated by the Texas Rangers 10-5 on Tuesday in the second of three games in Arlington. Detroit had won three just before losing Tuesday to the Rangers. The Tigers have won five of the last seven and are third in the American League Central 11 ½ game behind first place Chicago White Sox. The Tigers continue to fight on the mound with the 23rd best ERA in baseball, while things at the plate are not much better as Detroit is 18th on the team average. Detroit’s injury list includes Matthew Boyd, Daz Cameron, Michael Fulmer, Niko Goodrum, Derek Holland, Julio Teheran and Spencer Turnbull.
Minnesota was defeated by the Chicago White Sox 4-1 Tuesday in the second of three games between the two AL Central rivals. The Twins had won two just before losing Tuesday. However, Minnesota has lost six of the last eight, and the twins have dropped to last place in the AL Central 14 ½ game behind the front-running White Sox. Minnesota is worse on the mound than Detroit with the 27th best ERA in baseball. injuries have taken a huge toll on Minnesota as Josh Donaldson is questionable and the twins are without five position players including Byron Buxton, Jake Cave, Kyle Garlick, Mitch Garver and Rob Refsnyder. Minnesota also has six pitchers on the injury list
Tiger’s improvement at the plate
Detroit has won five of the last seven, and much of it is thanks to strong production on the record. The Tigers have averaged 5.22 runs per game. Fight over the last seven. Overall, this season is the 20th in a row scored with 355. The Tigers team’s stroke average has improved to 18th at .235, and Detroit has a .387 slugging percentage, which is 22. Jonathan Schoop has led the plate. The second baseman has a .274 stroke average, 16 home runs and 49 RBIs to lead Detroit in each of the three categories. Robbie Grossman has 12 doubles, 11 home runs and 38 RBIs.
Pitching continues to be a weak link for Detroit as the Tigers have a team ERA of 4.67, which is 23rd in baseball, a 1.38 WHIP, which is 24th and opposing hitters have an average of .253 on the plate against Detroit pitching, which is 23rd in baseball. Casey Mize has the team’s top 5 wins. The Tigers give the ball to Tarik Skubal on Thursday. The 24-year-old Southpaw is 5-7 with a 4.35 ERA and the team’s top 100 strikeouts.
Minnesota needs help on the mound
That Minnesota Twins is 14 games under .500 and has lost six of the last 8. Much of Minnesota’s problems through the first half of the season have been on the mound. The Twins team ERA is 5.00, which is 27. in baseball and their 1.37 WHIP is 22. Even worse, opposing hitters have an average of .261 on the plate against Twins pitching, which is 28. Jose Berrios is leading Minnesota in wins and strikes by 7 and 106, respectively. Getting nodded at the mound Thursday for Minnesota will be veteran JA Happ. The 38-year-old left-hander is 4-4 with a 6.09 ERA and 59 strikes.
On the plate, Minnesota has held on to the eighth-best team’s baseball average of .246, the fifth-best slugging percentage at 0.433, and the Twins have scored the 12th most runs with 390. The designated hitter Nelson Cruz has been the statistic overall for Minnesota. Cruz is the leader in Minnesota with 18 home runs, 45 RBIs and 78 hits. The slugger also has Minnesota’s best stroke average of .305. Jorge Polanco has come strong through the last two months and has 18 doubles, 10 home runs and 34 RBIs
- Minnesota is 2-6 in the last eight
- The Twins are 3-7 in the last 10 during Game 1 of a new series
- Detroit is 5-2 in the last seven