The Tigers haven’t finished with a winning road mark since 1993, when they went 41-40 en route to an 85-77 record, their last overall winning record. Since then, they’ve gone 358-601 (.373) on the road, the fewest wins among the 28 non-expansion teams.
Detroit (22-13) upped its road record to a major league-best 14-7 with a 5-4 win Friday over the Indians to improve to 3-3 on its eight-game road trip.
Monroe’s two-run shot in the seventh highlighted a three-run rally that also included an RBI double by Ivan Rodriguez.
“You look at that lineup one through nine, and there’s a hero, I think, in that one through nine every day,” said Monroe, who has hit five of his nine homers in the seventh inning or later. “There’s someone who can drive the ball out of the ballpark. There’s someone who can come up with a big hit.”
Like Rogers, who walked one and struck out four, Jeremy Bonderman (3-2, 4.40 ERA) will try to shut down a potent Indians lineup that leads the majors in runs (223), hits (389), RBIs (211) and batting average (.302) this season.
The 23-year-old right-hander was roughed up last Saturday when he allowed five runs and a season-high 10 hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 7-6 loss to Minnesota. Bonderman, who entered 2006 with a 16-26 record and 4.97 ERA on the road, is 2-0 with a 3.76 ERA in 2006.
Bonderman, however, is just 4-8 with a 6.81 ERA in 15 games—14 starts— against the Indians. He’s lost three consecutive starts to Cleveland, giving up 15 runs and 26 hits in 13 innings for a hefty 10.38 ERA over that span.
He faced Cleveland on April 15 and lasted just 3 2-3 innings, giving up seven runs and eight hits in a 7-2 loss at Comerica Park.
The Indians (17-19) have lost four straight games and hope staff ace C.C. Sabathia can end their losing streak.
Sabathia (2-0, 2.35) has pitched well since returning from a strained oblique muscle suffered on opening day, winning both his starts and allowing one run in 13 innings. The left-hander pitched eight scoreless innings in a 2-0 win Sunday over Seattle.
“He was under control the entire game,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said. “He mixed his pitches. He was working ahead, had a good fastball and was able to reach back a few times when he needed to reach back and get a little bit more.”
Sabathia has excelled against the Tigers, compiling a 10-4 record and 4.38 ERA in 17 lifetime starts. However, Sabathia is just 4-4 with a 5.44 ERA at Jacobs Field compared to a 6-0 mark and 3.40 ERA on the road.
Casey Blake homered twice for the Indians on Friday to increase his batting average to .372 this season. Blake has had success against Bonderman in his career, going 11-for-28 (.393) with six RBIs.