Detroit Tigers (38-57) vs. Minnesota Twins (51-44)
When: 1:40 p.m. Sunday.
Where: Comerica Park in Detroit.
TV: Bally Sports Detroit.
Radio: WXYT-FM (97.1) (Tigers radio affiliates).
First-pitch forecast: Low-80s, cloudy, 30% chance of thunderstorms at 2 p.m.
Probable pitchers: Tigers RHP Rony Garcia (3-2, 4.28 ERA) vs. Twins RHP Sonny Gray (4-3, 3.71).
SATURDAY'S LOSS: Tigers' bats silent for too long again in 8-4 loss to Twins
1. Riley Greene (CF)
2. Javier Báez (SS)
3. Harold Castro (1B)
4. Miguel Cabrera (DH)
5. Eric Haase (C)
6. Robbie Grossman (LF)
7. Jonathan Schoop (2B)
8. Kody Clemens (3B)
9. Willi Castro (RF)
Game notes: The latest recipient of the “get well” tonic that is the Tigers’ woeful offense — up to 3.15 runs per game after Saturday’s 8-4 loss! — is Twins righty Sonny Gray. The 32-year-old’s first season in Minnesota was zipping along, as he posted a 2.17 ERA with 49 strikeouts in 49⅔ innings over the first three months. (That included a dominant outing on May 24 in which he struck out 10 Tigers over seven innings while allowing four hits in Minneapolis.)
In July, however, Gray’s ERA ballooned to 9.45 for the month, with just eight strikeouts (and six walks) over 14⅓ innings. Bring on the Tigers, whose eight players on the roster with plate appearances against Gray have combined to hit .213 (19-for-89) against him. To be fair, that average is dragged down juuuuuust a bit by Javier Báez, who is 1-for-20 lifetime vs. Gray, with 12 strikeouts (eight swinging). Then again, 11 of those strikeouts came during Báez's tenure with the Cubs; he went 0-for-3 in that May 24 game, but made contact twice, sandwiching flyouts to left and second base around a whiff. Robbie Grossman hasn’t fared much better, going 2-for-16 with nine strikeouts. (Hmm, can Willi Castro play shortstop AND right field? Asking for a friend…)
On the other end of the spectrum, veteran hitters Miguel Cabrera and Jonathan Schoop are a combined 13-for-35 against Gray. Cabrera has a homer off him, though that came in 2014, back when Gray was a youngster in Oakland; more recently, Cabrera went 1-for-2 with a single and a walk back in May. Schoop, meanwhile, has three career doubles off Gray, including one on May 24 (to go with a single).
The Tigers, meanwhile, will send Rony García to the mound for the first time since June 29. That day, he rolled for five innings against the San Francisco Giants, allowing one run on four hits and two walks in his third straight start allowing three earned runs or less. To celebrate — in lieu of a shaving cream pan to the face or a Gatorade shower — the Tigers immediately placed him on the 15-day injured list (right shoulder soreness), as is the custom this year.
Garcia made two starts against the Twins in May, lasting four innings with two earned runs on May 25, then giving up six earned in five innings in the first game of May 31’s doubleheader. Two Twins did most of the damage that day: Tigers-killer Max Kepler went 3-for-4 with a walk, a double and three RBIs while Cabrera-puncher* Gary Sanchez took out his aggression on the baseball, with a three-run homer in the third inning.
*OK, Cabrera got some punches in, too, in that 2017 brawl, back when the Tigers — SIX RUNS! — delivered hits with their bats AND their fists. They still lost 98 games that season, but with FIRE.
After Sunday’s game, the Tigers and Twins head their separate ways for a week, when they’ll reunite in Minneapolis for three games Aug. 1-3. The Tigers welcome the NL wild-card-chasing Padres to Comerica Park for three games, Monday-Wednesday, while the Twins will have Monday off before visiting the Milwaukee Brewers, their former AL East and AL Central rivals, for two games of interleague action.
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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers lose to the Minnesota Twins, 9-1: Game thread replay