Without having to worry about the Washington Nationals’ hard-throwing phenom, the Tigers hope to have three of their top hitters back in the opener of a three-game series Tuesday night.
Both teams had Monday off, with Washington (31-33) entering its break after earning a 9-4 win over Cleveland on Sunday behind an effective start from the much-hyped Strasburg.
Detroit (33-29), meanwhile, completed a three-game sweep of Pittsburgh with a 4-3 win that afternoon, prevailing even though Magglio Ordonez(notes) (strained oblique), Carlos Guillen(notes) (calf) and Austin Jackson(notes) (back) were hindered by injuries.
Ordonez, batting .312 with eight homers and 41 RBIs, is expected to play after missing six straight games, and Guillen will likely join him in the lineup after being held out as a precaution. Guillen has been limited to 31 games due to injuries, hitting .299 with four homers and 17 RBIs.
Jackson’s status, though, is a little more uncertain. The rookie center fielder, who left after a half-inning Sunday, is day to day.
One of the majors’ premier right-handed hitters, Cabrera thrives on driving the ball the other way.
“As long as you watch baseball, you won’t see many guys that hit the ball to opposite field like that,” manager Jim Leyland said. “People get used to it around here. But trust me, in the history of the game, there’s not many guys that take it out to opposite field like it’s nothing.”
Max Scherzer(notes) (2-6, 6.30 ERA), set to take the mound for Detroit, could have used some support from Cabrera and the Tigers’ lineup in his last start. Scherzer gave up three runs and struck out seven in 7 1-3 innings of a 3-0 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Thursday.
The right-hander is 1-2 with a 4.00 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 18 innings in three starts since being recalled from Triple-A Toledo.
Scherzer struggled in his only start against the Nationals, surrendering four runs and seven hits in five innings while not receiving a decision for Arizona in a 10-8 defeat May 10, 2009.
For the second straight week, Washington’s John Lannan(notes) (2-3, 5.00) will follow Strasburg in the rotation. The left-hander didn’t fare well the first time, allowing five runs and 10 hits in 4 2-3 innings of Washington’s 7-5 win over Pittsburgh on Wednesday night.
Lannan has never faced the Tigers.
If Lannan falters again, Washington may need a second straight big game at the plate. The Nationals matched a season high with 16 hits to avoid being swept by the Indians.
Catcher Ivan Rodriguez(notes) is 7 for 16 (.438) in four games since coming off the disabled list. Rodriguez, who played for the 2006 AL champion Tigers under Leyland, is playing his second game at Detroit since being traded to the Yankees in 2008.
The Tigers have won five of their last six against the Nationals franchise.