Relieved Tigers aim for second straight against Mets

Field Level Media

The New York Mets and Detroit Tigers are likely to need considerable innings out of their relievers for a second straight game Saturday. But the Tigers, at least, weren't too worried about that after a much-needed win Friday night.

The Tigers will look to win back-to-back games for the first time in more than a month Saturday afternoon, when they visit the Mets in the middle game of a three-game series.

Rookie left-hander Ryan Carpenter (0-2, 13.00 ERA) is expected to be recalled from Triple-A Toledo to start for the Tigers against Mets veteran left-hander Jason Vargas (1-2, 5.92 ERA), who is scheduled to come off the injured list after missing almost three weeks with a tight left hamstring.

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The Tigers snapped a nine-game losing streak Friday night, when five pitchers combined for a 5 1/3 innings of three-run relief after rookie Gregory Soto exited and JaCoby Jones laced the go-ahead, two-run double in the seventh inning of a 9-8 win.

The victory provided some obvious relief to the Tigers, who haven't had a winning streak since they won three in a row from Apr. 21-23. On Friday, Detroit collected 14 hits, its most since racking up a season-high 15 hits against the Chicago White Sox on Apr. 26.

"We've had a lot of struggles and it's kind of beat us down a little bit," Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said afterward. "This is kind of the game we've been waiting for, where we can smile and shake hands at the end of the game."

The Mets did plenty of that during a four-game sweep of the Washington Nationals earlier this week. New York appeared as if it might extend its winning streak but squandered leads of 5-4, 6-5 and 7-6 between the fifth and seventh innings.

"The tale tonight was after we scored, we couldn't get that shutdown inning we needed," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said after a game in which four relievers combined to pitch the final 3 2/3 innings in place of starter Noah Syndergaard. "If we'd gotten one of them, we probably would have won the game."

Both bullpens should get plenty of work Saturday. The Tigers optioned pitcher Sandy Baez to Toledo following Friday's game in order to make room for Carpenter, who hasn't pitched in the majors since May 14, when he took the loss after giving up eight runs (seven earned) over four innings as Detroit fell to the Houston Astros, 11-4. He has never thrown more than 5 1/3 innings in any of his seven big league starts.

Carpenter is 1-4 with a 4.15 ERA in seven starts at Toledo. He didn't factor into the decision in his most recent start for the Mud Hens on Sunday, when he gave up three runs over six innings against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

"He has bounced up and down," Gardenhire told reporters before Friday's game. "He is not going to come up here afraid. He is going to come up here and throw the ball. When he is using all of his pitches, he can be effective."

The Mets probably can't expect too much length out of Vargas, who has lasted more than five innings just once in six starts this season. Vargas was injured in his most recent appearance May 5, when he took the loss after allowing three runs over four innings as New York fell to the Milwaukee Brewers, 3-2.

Vargas made a rehab start for Double-A Binghamton on Sunday, when he allowed one run over four innings against Trenton.

"It felt pretty good out there," Vargas told The Trentonian afterward. "Just going out there and having a good competitive outing, I think we got that."

Carpenter has never faced the Mets. He made his lone interleague appearance in his big league debut on Apr. 1, 2018, when Carpenter started against the Pittsburgh Pirates and didn't factor into the decision after allowing three runs over four innings in the Tigers' 8-6 loss.

Vargas is 4-6 with a 6.38 ERA in 13 career starts against the Tigers.

--Field Level Media

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