It’s been 22 years since the Detroit Tigers have played this well.
They have a chance for their longest winning streak since 1984 on Saturday when they continue their weekend series with the Cleveland Indians at Comerica Park.
Detroit (34-14) beat Cleveland 8-3 on Friday to win its seventh straight game for the second time this season. The Tigers last won eight in a row from May 14-24, 1984, the year of their last World Series title.
The Tigers also matched the 1984 team as the last to have multiple seven-game win streaks. Combined with their seven straight wins from May 10-18, the Tigers—who have baseball’s best record—have won 14 of their past 15 games and moved 20 games over .500 for the first time since 1988.
The only loss came in the last 15 contests was to the Cincinnati Reds in the first game of interleague play.
“It is fun to be a part of,” said Curtis Granderson, who had a career-high five RBIs on Friday. “When we go out to the grocery store, people are stopping us to tell us we’re doing a good job.”
Detroit is 21-7 against its AL Central rivals this season, and has won four straight meetings with the Indians (23-24).
The Tigers have not won five consecutive games against Cleveland since a six-game run from May 23-Sept. 3, 1989.
“We’re definitely not playing perfect,” Granderson said. “I think there’s some aspects that are going to be down one game. But to the same extent, something’s pulling it up. It hasn’t been day in and day out that we’ve come in, gotten a shutout and scored 10 runs. We’ve had different wins the whole time.”
Justin Verlander (6-3, 2.70 ERA) tries to extend his 17-inning scoreless streak and win his fourth straight start when he takes the mound for Detroit on Saturday. The rookie right-hander pitched his first career shutout against Kansas City on Monday.
He allowed five hits and one walk in the 8-0 win over the Royals, the first shutout by a Tigers pitcher since Jeremy Bonderman threw one on Sept. 30, 2004.
“I’m really excited,” Verlander said. “Most of all, I’m glad I got a win for the team. Personally, though, I couldn’t be more excited. Hopefully, it’s one of many to come.”
Verlander lost to Cleveland in his major league debut last July 4, giving up seven hits and four runs in 5 1-3 innings of a 6-0 defeat.
Paul Byrd (4-3, 5.92) looks for another good performance against Detroit when he starts for Cleveland. Byrd beat the Tigers on April 17, giving up two runs and four hits in seven innings.
The right-hander is 6-1 with a 2.71 ERA in 10 career games against Detroit, including wins in his last three decisions.
Byrd hasn’t earned a decision in his last two starts, but gave up six hits and two runs in seven innings on Sunday against the Pirates, a game Cleveland won 3-2 in 10 innings.
Byrd’s ERA was 9.15 on April 22, but he has lowered it by not allowing more than four runs in any of his last five starts.
Cleveland has lost four of its last six road games.