Tigers-Twins Preview

NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO (STATS Writer)
The Associated Press

The Detroit Tigers are hoping to get a glimpse of what's in store for the future by sending Michael Fulmer to the mound, and he'd like to make enough of an impression to remain in the majors.

The Tigers turn to their top pitching prospect for a spot start Friday night when they try to match a season-high three-game winning streak against the Minnesota Twins.

A blister on Shane Greene's right middle finger forced him to leave in the fourth inning of Sunday's 6-3 loss to Cleveland, eventually landing him on the disabled list.

That created an opportunity for Detroit (11-10) to get a look at Fulmer for the first time since acquiring him in the trade that sent Yoenis Cespedes to the New York Mets in July.

"I've been dreaming of this since I was four years old and playing tee-ball," Fulmer told MLB's official website. "This is the second-best day of my life, besides my wedding - my wife will enjoy that. No, it's a blessing, and I'm just so happy to finally achieve my goal, and hopefully I can compete well enough to stay up here."

The right-hander went 0-1 with a 6.14 ERA in four games - one start - during spring training, following that with a 4.11 ERA in three starts at Triple-A Toledo.

"There's two angles to all the emotions that are going through him," manager Brad Ausmus said. "Don't let the emotions take control of your pitching, but if possible, use the emotions to help you."

Miguel Cabrera's production should also help. The star first baseman is 9 for 17 with two homers and five RBIs over the last four games, spiking his season average 69 points to .275. He had two hits, one RBI and scored in Thursday's 7-3 win over Oakland.

Cabrera, though, went 4 for 19 with two homers and four RBIs in six games at Minnesota last year after batting .417 while driving in six runs over eight in 2014.

The Twins (7-15) are tied with Houston for the worst record in the AL, but they've won six of their last eight at home despite falling 6-5 to Cleveland on Wednesday.

Phil Hughes (1-3, 3.91) takes the ball looking to build on his best effort of the season. He's also in search of some help from the offense.

The right-hander allowed two runs in seven innings, but the Twins were two-hit by Tanner Roark in a 2-0 loss at Washington on Saturday. It was the second time in three starts - both losses - that Hughes got no supporting runs.

"He was aggressive, especially inside," manager Paul Molitor told MLB's official website. "He just did a nice job. He stayed aggressive, he was strong, kept his pitch count down. So he did everything he could to give us a chance."

Hughes went 1-2 with a 6.63 ERA and a .363 batting opposing average in four starts versus the Tigers last year. He only lasted three innings and gave up three runs and six hits in a 5-4 loss Sept. 15 after spending over a month on the DL with a back injury.

Hughes has had a tough time with Cabrera, who is 17 for 38 with five homers, five doubles and 13 RBIs off him. That's tied for the most homers the first baseman has against any pitcher, the others being Bruce Chen and Corey Kluber.

What to Read Next