The Detroit Tigers knew in order to have any chance to make a run in the AL Central race, they’d have to begin to make up ground in their 10-game homestand that began on Aug. 8.
Instead, they’ll have to settle for trying to break even.
Currently 9 1/2 games out of first, the Tigers will look to close their disappointing homestand at 5-5 on Sunday against the last-place Baltimore Orioles.
Detroit (60-63) began its 10-game stretch at Comerica Park 7 1/2 games behind the first-place Chicago White Sox in a division that was expected to be a two-team race between the Tigers and Cleveland Indians.
Instead, it’s the White Sox and Minnesota Twins who share a near double-digit lead with 40 games to go.
“We haven’t even gotten to September yet, so that talk, I don’t necessarily agree with—(just) keep playing,” center fielder Curtis Granderson told the Tigers’ official Web site. “I understand everyone else’s mindset on the outside, especially when you see Minnesota and Chicago doing what they’re capable of, but we can’t focus on what they’re trying to do right now.”
Granderson has done his part against the Orioles (59-63) in the series’ first two games. He’s 5-for-8, including two hits and an RBI Saturday as Detroit beat Baltimore 5-3.
Miguel Cabrera, who leads the team with 93 RBIs, has struggled with a hip flexor over the past few months, but after hitting his team-leading 25th homer on Saturday, he says he’s finally feeling right.
“I feel better you know. It doesn’t bother me anymore,” Cabrera said. “No excuses, run hard … I feel like I’m 100 percent.”
Cabrera and the Tigers will face a pitcher on Sunday who’s had major struggles away from home. Rookie Garrett Olson (8-6, 6.06 ERA) is 1-2 with an 8.71 ERA in his last four road starts.
He fell behind 4-0 in the first inning on Tuesday at Cleveland before settling down. Olson ended up being charged with five runs in six innings, but he got a no-decision in Baltimore’s 7-5 loss.
“Obviously, I still have a bitter taste. I’m not pleased with what happened that first inning,” Olson told the Orioles’ official Web site. “Even though we did come back and tie the game, it probably would have been a different story if that didn’t happen.”
Olson gave up five runs in six innings in a 6-5 loss to the Tigers on July 17.
He’ll be backed by a Baltimore lineup that has scored a major league-high 69 runs in its last nine games. Melvin Mora has led the offensive onslaught, recording multihit efforts in 10 of his last 11 games, hitting .500 (24-for-48) with three homers and 18 RBIs since Aug. 4.
It’ll be up to Zach Miner (6-4, 3.41) to slow down Mora on Sunday in his first career start against the Orioles. He’s pitched well since joining Detroit’s rotation on July 21, going 3-1 with a 2.15 ERA in five starts.
Miner didn’t get a decision in his last outing, but allowed just one run in six innings as the Tigers lost 6-4 to Toronto on Tuesday.
Baltimore has lost 17 of its last 18 games on Sundays.