The Seattle Mariners are struggling to score runs. It's a good time for them to visit Detroit.
Seattle's steady tumble down the standings reached a new low last weekend, when the Mariners were swept by the visiting Tampa Bay Rays. The Mariners, who were shut out 1-0 on Sunday, have lost eight of their past nine to fall 23 games below .500. They begin a nine-game road trip on Tuesday against the downtrodden Tigers.
In half of those eight losses, the Mariners have scored two or fewer runs. They haven't scored more than four runs in the past eight games.
"Rough series. Losing (stinks). It does," Seattle manager Scott Servais said. "We play competitive games, we're right in it with a team that's right in wild-card position. They're driven by pitching, we knew that coming into the series, and they made big pitches and shut us down when they needed to."
Servais doesn't have as much firepower in the lineup as he did earlier this season due to injuries, a trade and a suspension.
Outfielder Mitch Haniger is expected to begin a rehab assignment on Tuesday as he recovers from a groin injury. Third baseman Ryon Healy underwent hip surgery last week. Top slugger Edwin Encarnacion was traded away to the New York Yankees, while infielder Tim Beckham received an 80-game suspension from the league after testing positive for a banned performance-enhancing drug.
However, the Mariners still have some power bats in Daniel Vogelbach (26 home runs), Domingo Santana (21) and Omar Narvaez (17). They'll face a Tigers staff that was battered by the Kansas City Royals during a four-game series late last week.
The Royals blasted 12 homers, including five in a 10-2 thumping of the Tigers on Sunday. Detroit had a day off on Monday -- after 22 games in as many days -- to recuperate.
"We're just going game by game here," Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Yes, I'm disappointed. Yes, they are disappointed out there. But we just ended a stretch of a lot of baseball in not many days. Everybody is ready for the day off. The doubleheader (against the Chicago White Sox on Aug. 6) beat the fire out of us after the long road trip.
"Just a lot of baseball. We all need a break."
Tigers ace Matthew Boyd (6-8, 4.16 ERA), who will start on Tuesday, was one of the victims of the onslaught. He lasted just 2 2/3 innings on Thursday, giving up five runs against the Royals, including three home runs. He was fortunate to get a no-decision as Detroit rallied for a 10-8 victory.
Boyd was sharp against the Mariners in his hometown Seattle on July 28, holding them to one run on three hits while striking out 10 in 6 1/3 innings. He's 1-0 with a 2.79 ERA in four career appearances (three starts) against them.
He'll oppose another left-hander, Yusei Kikuchi (4-8, 5.34 ERA). Kikuchi is 1-7 with a 7.18 ERA in his past 13 starts, though his last one was respectable. He held the San Diego Padres to one run on four hits in five innings and struck out eight on Wednesday.
Kikuchi faced the Tigers on July 26 and held them to two runs on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings.
Detroit is just 16-41 at home this season and hasn't won a series at Comerica Park since early May.
--Field Level Media