After avoiding a sweep in their most recent series, the Detroit Tigers look to build off their latest win and remain in the mix for the AL Central lead as they open a weekend road series against the Oakland Athletics on Friday.
Detroit (72-62) beat Kansas City 6-2 on Thursday to salvage a win after dropping the first two games of its six-game homestand to the Royals.
“I think we have a great chance to make the playoffs,” Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. “I think we’ve got a shot. Why not? There are a lot of games to be played yet. You’ve got to go out there and do something about it.”
The Tigers are 3-4 against Oakland (66-69) and lost two of three to the A’s on the road from July 30-Aug. 1.
Thursday, Ordonez bounced back after going 0-for-4 on Wednesday and added three RBIs while raising his AL-leading average to .359.
“I don’t check the batting race. I’m just going to go up there and do my job,” said Ordonez who is batting .423 (11-for-26) with three homers and 12 RBIs in seven games against the A’s this season and .429 (6-for-14) all-time against Oakland’s Friday starter Joe Blanton.
Granderson has also enjoyed facing Blanton. The center fielder, who is hitting .450 (9-for-20) in his last five games, is batting .471 (8-for-17) lifetime against the right-hander.
Blanton (11-9, 3.92 ERA) will try to bounce back for his most recent defeat after he allowed four runs and seven hits in five innings of a 14-3 loss at Tampa Bay on Saturday for his first setback in five starts.
Blanton, who is 3-1 in four August starts, is 2-2 with a 9.67 ERA in five starts against the Tigers. He is 0-1 with an 11.81 ERA after allowing nine runs in four innings of Oakland’s 16-10 win over the Tigers on Aug. 10 in his second start against them in 2007.
Virgil Vasquez (0-1, 9.39) was recalled Thursday from Triple-A Toledo and will start for the Tigers.
The right-hander allowed two runs and four hits in five innings of an 8-7 loss to the Chicago White Sox on July 24 in the most recent of his two starts this season. Friday will be his first appearance against Oakland.
The A’s will try to win their second game in a row after a 5-4, 11-inning home victory over Toronto on Wednesday snapped a five-game losing streak. Oakland was outscored 44-15 during the skid.
“When you’re 14 games out of it with a month to play you’re just showing up every day like its a new day,” reliever Huston Street said. “You’re not really worried about winning streaks or losing streaks. You’re just worried about getting better and coming together as a team. We’re building for next year.”
Scutaro could be a player counted on next season. The versatile, veteran infielder is 4-for-8 in his last two games after going 0-for-6 in a 6-2 loss to the Blue Jays on Monday. He is batting .333 (9-for-27) with a homer and nine RBIs against Detroit this season.