Resurgent Marlins meet struggling Tigers

Field Level Media

Following their worst week of the season, the Detroit Tigers will try to regain their footing in a three-game home series against the Miami Marlins.

It would help if Tigers hitters would stop swinging at pitches out of the strike zone.

Detroit's hitters have a chase rate of 35.6 percent this season, according to fangraphs.com, worst in the major leagues. That's part of the reason the Tigers carry a six-game losing streak into the three-game series that begins Tuesday night.

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"We're pressing an awful lot," Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire told the Detroit News. "We watched guys swinging at so many pitches outside of the zone. ... We looked at a lot of different things, but ultimately it comes down to plate discipline."

The Tigers and Marlins are tied for 27th in the majors with a .219 batting average. Miami is last in the major leagues with a .592 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, while Detroit is 28th at .654.

"You have to get a good pitch to hit," Gardenhire said. "Right now, we are fouling off the good pitches and chasing outside the zone too much."

The Tigers haven't played an official game since Saturday. They were trailing 5-3 to Oakland during the seventh inning Sunday when the game was suspended due to rain. The A's took the lead in the top of the inning. The game won't be completed until Detroit plays at Oakland on Sept. 6.

Right-hander Spencer Turnbull starts for Detroit on Tuesday. Turnbull (2-3, 2.40 ERA) matched his shortest outing of the season in his last start Thursday, getting removed after four innings against the A's. He allowed a season-high six runs, although only one was earned. Detroit had won Turnbull's previous four starts.

He will be facing the Marlins for the first time.

Miami is coming off its most satisfying weekend this season. The Marlins swept the Mets in a three-game series, including back-to-back shutouts Saturday and Sunday.

Left-hander Caleb Smith (3-1, 2.25 ERA) will oppose Turnbull as the Marlins begin a seven-game road swing. He was tagged with his first loss this season in his last start on Tuesday, allowing two runs on four hits in 5 1/3 innings to Tampa Bay.

Smith, whose only previous career appearance against Detroit was a one-inning relief stint, has racked up 64 strikeouts in 48 innings over his eight starts. Smith threw 106 pitches against the Rays, who fouled off 35 of them.

"They had good at-bats," Smith told MLB.com afterward. "Fouled pitches off and did their job. Got me out of the game kind of early."

Miami is hopeful catcher Jorge Alfaro can return from a left calf strain during the series. Alfaro was injured on Saturday while stealing a base.

"It feels like a bruise right now," Alfaro said to MLB.com after that game. "It bothered me a little bit to walk right now. I'm expecting to be back on Tuesday."

Alfaro has been one of the team's best hitters with a .258 average along with six home runs and 13 RBIs.

--Field Level Media

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