If they’re going to earn a shot at the postseason, however, the Tigers need to start stringing together wins—soon.
Behind a resurgent Cabrera, Detroit will seek to earn a series victory over the slumping Oakland Athletics when it continues its 10-game homestand on Sunday.
Lately, however, Cabrera has been living up to his billing as one of the league’s top young players. After homering twice in Detroit’s 10-2 win over the A’s on Saturday, he leads the majors with 32 RBIs since the All-Star break, hitting .348 with seven homers in 22 games over that span.
“He’s a force,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “We talked about how good he would be and he’s gotten acclimated (to the AL).”
As a result, the Tigers’ offense has improved, as their 140 runs since the break are tied with the Los Angeles Angels for the most in the majors.
But Detroit is just 10-12 with a 5.00 team ERA over that span, having played 17 of the 22 games on the road. It trails first-place Minnesota by eight games in the AL Central.
“We need to worry about winning,” Cabrera told the Tigers’ official Web site. “Who knows what will happen.”
Nate Robertson (6-8, 6.11 ERA) will try to turn around his own individual problems and the team’s pitching struggles on Sunday. The left-hander has not won since June 21, going 0-2 with an 8.42 ERA in seven starts since the beginning of July.
Robertson has the highest ERA among qualifying pitchers in the majors this season. He also struggled in his lone start against the A’s, losing after allowing five runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 10-2 defeat on June 4.
Perhaps it will help facing an Oakland offense that has been dismal lately. The A’s (54-62) have lost 20 of their last 23 games, scoring 2.7 runs per game and batting .221 over that span.
“What we’re looking at now is to come back tomorrow and win our first series in a while,” A’s manager Bob Geren told his team’s official Web site. “That’s all we can do at this point.”
Oakland’s last series victory came when it took three of four from Seattle at home from July 7-10. The A’s haven’t won a road series since sweeping San Francisco June 13-15.
Greg Smith (5-10, 3.99) will try to deliver it while earning his first win since June 30. Since then, Smith is 0-4 with a 5.61 ERA in six starts, though he has received 2.14 runs of support per nine innings over that span.
The southpaw has never faced Detroit, which is hitting .290 against left-handers this season.