The Tampa Bay Rays and Detroit Tigers meet in the final game of a three-game set Wednesday afternoon at Comerica Park
Tampa Bay Rays at Detroit Tigers
Tampa Bay has lost five of six games and manager Joe Maddon is confident his club will turn things around after dropping a 7-6 contest in Detroit last night. “If we play baseball like that on a nightly basis, I’ll take it any day of the week,” Maddon commented. The Rays are 2-5 on their current eight-game road trip that ends with this afternoon’s finale versus the Tigers, but they still possess a solid 15-10 mark on the road. Matt Joyce has three hits Tuesday for the squad, including his eighth homer, raising his AL-leading batting average to .367. It’s a surprising season when considering he hasn’t hit higher than .252 in any of his three previous seasons. Tampa Bay is 10-10 in day games this year.
Rays starting pitcher Andy Sonnanstine is 0-1 with a 4.21 ERA in three starts this season and the club has proven victorious in just one of his nine overall appearances. The right-hander picked up a no-decision on the road last time out against the Marlins, allowing three runs and seven hits over five frames. Sonnanstine has thrown well on the road without establishing a record, surrendering six runs and 14 hits over 14 2/3 innings. In two career starts versus the Tigers, he has an even 1-1 mark and 5.40 ERA.
Detroit knocked off Tampa Bay to capture the first two games of this important series and will aim for the sweep this afternoon. With a win today over the Rays, it would mark the first time ever the Tigers have swept Tampa Bay in Detroit. Offensively, the team has really come around in scoring 15 times during its three-game winning streak following a five-game slide that totaled seven runs. “The one issue we don’t have around here is not playing nine innings,” said manager Jim Leyland. “We play nine innings every night. When you play nine innings every night, you’re going to sneak some now and then.” Catcher Victor Martinez is happing to face Tampa Bay, entering today with a .378 batting average, eight home runs and 43 RBI in 58 career games against them. Detroit is 13-9 in day games this season.
Tigers starting pitcher Brad Penny is 4-4 with a 4.45 ERA and will be making his 11th start of the season. The right-hander has compiled a 4-2 record and 2.40 ERA over his last six starts dating back to April 23. Penny will be standing on Comerica Park’s mound for the sixth time this season, coming in with a solid 3-1 mark and 1.82 ERA. He is tied for sixth in the American league in home ERA. The veteran will be making his eighth career appearance (seventh start) versus the Rays, posting a 2-4 record and 5.45 ERA.
Bettors will likely back the Tigers due to their 7-1 record in their last eight home games, while the Rays are 7-20 in Sonnanstine’s last 27 road starts.