Gary Sheffield has never had a three-homer game in his career. If he has one Tuesday night, he will join an elite list.
With Detroit (70-79) enduring a very disappointing season, one of the few reasons to pay attention to the Tigers down the stretch is whether Sheffield can become the 25th player in baseball history to reach 500 career homers. He connected for homer No. 497 in an 11-8 loss - the Tigers’ sixth straight - on Monday.
The slugger is in his 21st season, and is showing signs of his age, batting only .222 - his lowest average since 1991. He has four homers in 12 games in September, although he’s hitting .213 in that span.
Sheffield is 13-for-40 (.325) with two homers in his career against Kevin Millwood, who will start Tuesday for the Rangers.
Texas (74-77) lost its first five meetings with Detroit this season, but has won the last two. Rookie Taylor Teagarden had his first career grand slam and a career-high five RBIs in Monday’s win.
Teagarden has six homers and 17 RBIs in 12 major league games this season.
“I’m seeing the ball well,” Teagarden said. “(Manager Ron Washington) is giving me a chance to get a lot of at-bats, sticking me in the 9 hole where I can see a lot of pitches. I’m just trying to take advantage of it.”
Zach Miner (8-4, 4.29 ERA) will make his 11th start of the season for Detroit after spending the first three months of the season in the bullpen. He’s 5-1 with a 4.33 ERA as a starter this year.
The right-hander’s last start was a poor outing as he was tagged for eight runs over 4 1-3 innings on Sept. 8 in a 14-8 win over Oakland.
Miner lost his lone career start against the Rangers, allowing two runs over six innings in a 2-1 loss on Aug. 18, 2006.
Millwood (9-9, 5.15) looks to beat Detroit for the second time in two outings this season. He turned in one of his best starts of the season with a six-hitter in a 6-1 win over the Tigers on Aug. 20 to improve to 4-4 with a 3.78 ERA in 10 career starts against them.
That started a season-high three-start winning streak for the veteran right-hander, but he’s lost his last two outings by giving up seven runs in each of them. He lasted five-plus innings Wednesday and yielded 11 hits in an 8-7 loss to Seattle.