With Ordonez’s status still uncertain, the Tigers look to extend the Pirates’ losing streak to eight as the teams wrap up a three-game set Sunday.
Another victory over the Pirates would give the Tigers their first series sweep against them. This is the eighth series these teams have played, with Detroit winning 13 of 23 matchups.
The Pirates, losers of 10 straight on the road and seven in a row overall, hardly seem in any shape to match up with the Tigers. Still, Detroit manager Jim Leyland doesn’t want his club to have a letdown against the franchise he managed from 1986-1996.
“That’s still a good major league team,” Leyland said. “They’ve got one of the best young players in baseball in (Andrew) McCutchen, and some good, young athletes.”
Detroit has been getting by without Ordonez (oblique), who has missed five straight games and is day to day. Detroit has Monday off, so Leyland may decide to keep the 36-year-old right fielder on the bench again to give him two more days to rest.
“He may feel great (Sunday) and if he feels great, I’ll play him,” Leyland told the Tigers’ official website. “If he doesn’t, I won’t. If there’s any question about it, then I’d give him (Sunday) off, obviously. There would be no sense to risk anything if there is any question or doubt whatsoever.”
Galarraga didn’t receive a decision in his last start, allowing two runs in five innings of a 7-2 win over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night. It was his first outing since a blown call with two outs in the ninth inning against Cleveland on June 2 ruined a bid for a perfect game.
The right-hander, though, struggled in his only start against the Pirates, surrendering four runs and eight hits in two innings as the Tigers lost 9-3 on June 13, 2009.
Pittsburgh will counter with Jeff Karstens(notes) (1-2, 4.81), who is making his third straight start following a stint in the bullpen. The right-hander gave up four runs and nine hits in five innings of a 5-2 loss to Washington on Tuesday night.
Karstens is 0-2 with a 6.48 ERA in three road starts. This is his first appearance versus the Tigers.
Pirates pitchers continue to get little support. Pittsburgh is averaging 2.4 runs during its skid on the road, and the club’s 201 total runs are tied with Baltimore for worst in the majors.
Jones is 6 for 12 in four games at Detroit.