Cole Hamels would like to avoid tying for the major league lead in losses, though that could prove difficult if the Detroit Tigers get two of their top sluggers back.
The Tigers won’t have Miguel Cabrera or Torii Hunter in the lineup as they try to hand Hamels his 13th defeat Friday night when the Philadelphia Phillies visit Detroit for the first time in 11 years.
Playing for a third straight game without Cabrera because of an injured left hip flexor, the AL Central-leading Tigers (56-45) had their four-game winning streak snapped in Thursday’s 7-4 road loss to the White Sox that also prevented a four-game road sweep.
Trainer Kevin Rand says the reigning Triple Crown winner is improving but needs a little more time to recover.
Hunter also was scratched from Detroit’s lineup after leaving Thursday’s game against Chicago in the eighth inning because of a sore left Achilles tendon. He said the problem was caused by dress shoes that were too tight.
Second baseman Omar Infante is still unable to return. He has been on the disabled list since July 4 because of a sprained left ankle.
The news isn’t as promising for a reeling Philadelphia team that will be without one of its All-Stars after placing Domonic Brown on the seven-day concussion list Thursday. Brown, who has a team-leading 24 homers and 69 RBIs, hit his head on the ground diving for Carlos Beltran’s triple in the seventh inning of Tuesday’s 4-1 loss at St. Louis.
The injury comes at a time when the Phillies have totaled nine runs in a season high-tying five-game skid.
“At times, we have trouble putting anything on the board,” said manager Charlie Manuel following Thursday’s 3-1 loss to the Cardinals.
Manuel’s club had won four straight with Hamels (4-12, 4.16 ERA) on the mound before losing 5-4 at Citi Field on Saturday. The left-hander allowed four runs and seven hits over five innings against the Mets.
He had gone 2-0 with a 1.57 ERA in his previous three outings.
Although he’s never faced the Tigers, Hamels is 3-4 with a 5.77 ERA in nine road interleague starts.
Infante is 4 for 21 with a homer when facing Hamels the past three seasons, while slugger Prince Fielder has gone 7 for 17 with two homers and four RBIs against him since 2008.
Even with all their injuries, the Tigers hit eight homers and plated 23 runs in their last four games.
They’ll try to continue that production for Doug Fister (8-5, 3.90), who seeks his third straight win after giving up three runs over 12 innings in his last two. The right-hander yielded one run and six hits over six innings in a 4-1 win at Kansas City on Sunday.
“The biggest focus was to get the ball down and around the knees,” said Fister, who faces the Phillies for the first time. “We executed with that on the better side and that’s going to continue to be our focus.”
This is the first meeting in Detroit since 2002, when the Phillies swept a three-game series.