Making his first appearance against the team that traded him earlier this month, Willis looks to help the Diamondbacks avoid a 14th consecutive road loss and snap the Tigers’ six-game winning streak Friday night at Comerica Park.
The former NL Rookie of the Year helped Florida win the World Series in 2003, but Willis (2-2, 4.39 ERA) was a bust in Detroit.
Acquired by the Tigers along with Miguel Cabrera(notes) after the 2007 season, Willis went 2-8 with a 6.86 ERA in 24 appearances - 22 starts. He was placed on the disabled list three times with knee problems and an anxiety disorder.
“It was a great place to play baseball,” Willis said of Detroit. “I just didn’t get it done.”
Through two starts for the last-place Diamondbacks (26-41), Willis is 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA. He gave up two runs and six walks in four innings of an 11-7 loss to Atlanta on June 10.
This is his first appearance against Detroit since going the distance in a 9-2 win June 13, 2004.
“I’m excited to get a chance to play, but as far as playing against them, it’s just another game for me,” Willis told the Diamondbacks’ official website.
Making their first trip to Detroit since 2005, the Diamondbacks have lost three in a row overall and are mired in the longest road skid in club history.
“It’s frustrating. It doesn’t matter home or away,” former Tigers player and current Arizona manager A.J. Hinch said.
The Tigers (36-29) look to extend their interleague winning streak to eight games. Ramon Santiago(notes) had four hits, Magglio Ordonez(notes) added three and Cabrera drove in three runs as Detroit recorded a season-high 19 hits in an 8-3 win over Washington on Thursday.
The Tigers totaled 37 runs and 70 hits while sweeping last-place clubs Pittsburgh and Washington over the last week.
Ordonez, who went 8 for 13 versus the Nationals, is 11 for 22 with six RBIs in interleague play.
Armando Galarraga(notes) (2-1, 2.67) looks for another strong outing for Detroit on Friday. He did not get a decision Sunday after allowing two runs in 7 2-3 innings of a 4-3 win over Pittsburgh, his second start since coming one out shy of a perfect game on June 2.
Galarraga is 4-3 with a 4.73 ERA in 10 interleague starts. His first came May 17, 2008, when he gave up two runs and one hit in six innings of a 3-2 win over Arizona.
Diamondbacks’ slugger Mark Reynolds(notes) is 3 for 7 against the Tigers, but he went 0 for 11 with nine strikeouts while Arizona was swept at Boston. He fanned four times in Thursday’s 8-5 loss at Fenway Park.
Though the Diamondbacks have scored 27 runs during the 13-game road skid, they are 13-8 against Detroit. They’re 5-4 at Comerica.