The Detroit Tigers finally broke into the win column on their just-completed road trip, but now they’d like to win one for their home fans.
The struggling Tigers will be trying for their first win of the season at Comerica Park as they open a two-game series with the Minnesota Twins on Monday.
Detroit (2-10) lost its first seven games before becoming the last team in the majors to earn a victory this season, defeating Boston 7-2 on Wednesday. The Tigers followed up with a win two days later against the Chicago White Sox, but still own the fewest wins in baseball.
Detroit, which has the second-highest-payroll in baseball, is also the only team in the majors without a home win. The Tigers are 0-6 at home, where they have been outscored 39-15.
The Tigers have not lost their first six home games since 2003 and have not gone 0-7 to open a season since dropping their first eight at home in 1992.
Detroit was shut out in the last two games of their three-game series in Chicago, including Sunday’s 11-0 rout. The Tigers, who lost 7-0 on Saturday, have not scored since the eighth inning of Friday’s 5-2 win.
Detroit has already been shut out four times this season—one more than all of 2007.
“Where we’re at makes sense because that’s the way we’ve played,” said manager Jim Leyland, who was heard screaming at his team in the clubhouse after the game. “It’s not surprising that we’re 2-10. We’ve been shut out four times. … I didn’t think we’d get shut out four times all year, to be honest with you.”
“We’re not a very good team right now,” said Kenny Rogers, who started and gave up seven runs in four innings Sunday. “We’re as bad a team as there is right now in every facet, myself as much as anyone.”
The TIgers will hope Jeremy Bonderman (1-1, 3.97 ERA), who gave up one earned run in five innings and earned the win against Boston, will try to reverse that trend in Monday’s opener. Bonderman has struggled somewhat against the Twins, going 3-6 with a 5.31 ERA in 13 starts and 14 overall appearances.
However, in his two starts against Minnesota last season, he was 1-0 with a 1.84 ERA.
The Tigers went 12-6 against the Twins (6-6) in 2007, winning nine of the last 10 meetings. However, Detroit went just 4-5 at home against Minnesota in 2007.
The Twins took two of three from Kansas City over the weekend, but lost 5-1 in Sunday’s finale. Starter Francisco Liriano, an All-Star as a rookie in 2006 before undergoing Tommy John surgery, made his first major league appearance in 17 months and gave up four runs in 4 2-3 innings.
He was outpitched by Brian Bannister, who limited the Twins to three hits after they had scored 19 runs in a three-game winning streak.
In the series opener, Gardenhire will give the ball to Nick Blackburn (0-1, 2.25), who is making his third big league start. He yielded two runs in five innings without getting a decision in the Twins’ 7-4 road loss to the White Sox last Monday after giving up just one run in seven innings of a tough-luck 1-0 loss to the Angels five days earlier.
“There were times out there that I felt pretty comfortable and was able to get my mind back right,” Blackburn said after his last outing. “But I was struggling to hit spots and it was just a tough battle today.”
Blackburn made six relief appearances last season, including one against the Tigers. He was pounded for six runs in two innings and charged with a 9-4 loss at Comerica on Sept. 26.
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