The lowest-scoring teams in baseball open a three-game interleague series at Comerica Park on Tuesday.
Los Angeles has totaled just 220 runs in 62 games, while Detroit has scored a pathetic 190 runs in 60 games. No other team in the majors has scored fewer than 245.
While the Dodgers’ .247 batting average is tied for second-worst in the NL, the Tigers’ .218 mark is 24 points lower than any other team in baseball.
Despite the lack of offense, Los Angeles is six games above .500 and in second place in the NL West—five games behind the San Francisco Giants.
The anemic offense of the Tigers is the main reason why they own the worst record in baseball, and are already 18 1/2 games back in the AL Central.
Besides Detroit being even worse offensively than Los Angeles, the difference between the teams has been pitching. The Dodgers lead the majors with a 3.03 ERA and a .220 opponents’ batting average.
The Tigers have a 4.38 ERA and opponents are batting .259 against them, but their hurlers have recorded a major league-low 289 strikeouts.
The one bright spot to Los Angeles’ offense lately has been Paul Lo Duca, who is batting .463 during a career-best 17-game hitting streak. He’s raised his average from .275 to a team-leading .335 during the streak, the longest by a Dodger since 1996. No other Dodger regular is hitting .300.
“Lo Duca’s been swinging the bat as well as anyone in the National League, and we still can’t score runs,” outfielder Dave Roberts said. “So obviously, it takes a combined effort. We haven’t been consistent offensively this whole year—not even close.”
Los Angeles has lost eight of 12, scoring only 33 runs during that stretch.
Shawn Green hit just his seventh home run of the year in Sunday’s 10-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox, but struck out in his final three at-bats. Green, who had 91 homers over the previous two seasons, is 3-for-25 this month.
“For me to sit here and berate him and say that it’s only Shawn Green who’s not hitting, that’s not how you treat your players,” Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said. “Everybody needs to contribute.”
STANDINGS: Dodgers - 2nd place, 5 GB, NL West. Tigers - 5th place, 18 1/2 GB, AL Central.
DODGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Hideo Nomo (6-6, 2.84 ERA). Nomo lost his last two starts but did not pitch badly, yielding six runs in 15 innings with two walks and 15 strikeouts. He has gone 4-2 with a 1.75 ERA on the road. The Japanese right-hander, fifth in the majors in ERA and innings pitched with 95, has lasted at least seven innings in eight straight starts. Nomo, who spent the 2000 season with Detroit, is 1-2 with a 6.65 ERA in four career starts against the Tigers.
TIGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Gary Knotts (2-4, 4.73 ERA). Knotts is 0-1 in his two latest outings as he’s lasted a total of 8 1-3 innings, allowing eight runs and 11 hits with nine walks. He’s 0-3 in four starts at home despite a 3.12 ERA. Detroit has scored two runs or fewer in seven of his 11 starts.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Dodgers - Lo Duca, .335 avg.; Fred McGriff, 10 HRs and 33 RBIs; Green, 30 runs; Roberts, 18 SBs. Tigers - Dmitri Young, .275 avg., 12 HRs and 39 RBIs; Bobby Higginson, 30 runs; Alex Sanchez, 10 SBs.
INTERLEAGUE RECORDS: Dodgers - 2-1; Tigers - 2-4.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Dodgers - 1B McGriff has one hit in his last 16 at-bats. … RHP Paul Shuey has given up one run in his last 19 1-3 innings of relief. … 3B Adrian Beltre, who hit a career-high 21 home runs last season, has not homered in his last 34 games. Tigers - OF Craig Monroe, who homered Sunday, is 6-for-18 since going hitless in 20 at-bats. … After stealing eight bases in 43 games with Milwaukee this year, OF Sanchez has swiped 10 in 10 games since being acquired by the Tigers. … RHP Chris Spurling has been tagged for seven runs in his last 5 2-3 innings.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Dodgers - 14-14 on the road; Tigers - 5-21 at home.
INJURIES: Dodgers - C Todd Hundley (back), 15-day DL; OF Daryle Ward (wrist), 15-day DL; LHP Troy Brohawn (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Darren Dreifort (knee), 15-day DL; LHP Derek Thompson (elbow), 60-day DL. Tigers - IF Carlos Pena (hamstring), 15-day DL; IF Dean Palmer (shoulder, neck), 60-day DL; RHP Danny Patterson (elbow), 60-day DL.