The Al Central-leading Tigers hope to solve their offensive woes and continue their success against the Mariners this year when the teams begin a three-game set at Comerica Park on Monday.
Detroit (84-53) has scored 40 runs in losing eight of its last 11 games after a 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday. The Tigers lead the second-place Chicago White Sox by 4 1/2 games and third-place Minnesota by five games.
“You can’t be tipping your hat to the opposing pitchers every night,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “Sooner or later, you have to hit good pitching if you’re going to win anything.”
Several of Detroit’s hitters need to get untracked. Catcher Ivan Rodriguez is in a 2-for-22 slump, right fielder Magglio Ordonez has seven hits in his last 37 at-bats and leadoff hitter Curtis Granderson is batting .167 (12-for-72) over his last 19 games.
“Why would we be nervous? We’re still up 4 1/2 ,” Rodriguez said.
Ordonez and Rodriguez have played well against the Mariners (64-72) this year, each recording eight hits.
Seattle is 1-5 against Detroit this year, managing a total of only 10 runs. The Mariners are hitting .203 in those games with 39 strikeouts.
Nate Robertson (11-11, 4.04 ERA), who’s 0-3 with a 5.40 ERA over his last three outings gets the start for the Tigers. Detroit has had trouble supporting Robertson, managing 11 runs in his last six starts and being shut out in the last two.
Robertson was on the short end of a well-pitched game against the New York Yankees on Wednesday when he allowed two runs and 10 hits over seven innings. Detroit, though, dropped the opener of the doubleheader 2-0.
“It’s not his fault,” Detroit third baseman Brandon Inge said. “It’s not his fault at all. He’s pitching his (tail) off, and we just can’t get any runs.”
The left-hander is 1-1 with a 1.80 ERA in two starts against Seattle this year.
Mariners star right fielder Ichiro Suzuki is 7-for-18 in his career against Robertson.
The Mariners have dropped 13 of their last 14 road games after a 7-6 loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday.
Suzuki was hitless in six at-bats and is hitting just .222 since July 30. His average has slipped from 28 points to .317 in that span.
Jarrod Washburn (8-12, 4.35), who starts for Seattle, is 0-4 with a 4.88 ERA in his last four starts against Detroit. The Tigers have beaten him twice this year, although he has a 1.84 ERA in those outings.
Washburn has won two straight starts for the first time this year after beating the Angels on Tuesday. He gave up three runs and six hits over seven innings in a 6-4 victory.
The left-hander is 2-7 with a 5.14 ERA in 13 road starts this season.