The left-hander looks to maintain his recent success Friday night when the Mariners continue their four-game set with the Tigers.
Detroit (34-28) suffered a three-game home sweep at the hands of Seattle in April, but opened an eight-game homestand with a 4-1 victory over the Mariners on Thursday. Alex Avila(notes) hit two triples and Justin Verlander(notes) struck out a season-high 10 to help the Tigers win for the ninth time in 11 games.
The surging Tigers are one game back of first-place Cleveland in the AL Central.
While Detroit has a chance to move into a first-place tie, it likely must get the best of Bedard (3-4, 3.46 ERA), who allowed one run and five hits in seven innings of a 10-1 win at Comerica on April 27. It came one start after he gave up three runs and a season-high five walks in five innings of a 3-2 home loss to the Tigers on April 20.
“That poor guy has been plagued with injuries for years,” Detroit manager Jim Leyland said of Bedard. “But he looked better than I’ve seen him for a while now.”
Bedard’s victory over the Tigers began his current stretch where he’s gone 3-0 with a 1.75 ERA in seven starts since posting a 7.71 ERA while losing his first four of the year.
He has not factored in the decision of his last two starts, but allowed three runs and struck out seven in seven innings of a 9-6 win over Tampa Bay on Sunday.
Avila, who became just the third Tigers catcher since 1919 to triple twice in a game, is hitting .435 his last six contests.
Brad Penny(notes) (5-4, 4.76) tries for a second straight victory when he takes the mound for the Tigers. The right-hander allowed three runs and struck out five to earn the win despite throwing 100 pitches in five innings of a 7-3 victory at Chicago on Sunday.
“It wasn’t his best, but he battled through it,” Leyland said.
Penny allowed four runs in seven innings of a 7-2 home loss April 28 to fall to 0-2 with a 5.21 ERA in three starts versus Seattle.
Adam Kennedy(notes), batting .364 with two doubles and a homer against Penny, had two of Seattle’s five hits Thursday. The Mariners (32-31) have lost four of six since winning 13 of 16. Seattle has totaled five runs in its last four defeats.
“I like our guys,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge told the Mariners’ official website. “If we can put it all together, we’ve got a chance to be a pretty good ballclub.”