MLB Preview 2012: Detroit Tigers vs. Baltimore Orioles

The Detroit Tigers (44-42) and Baltimore Orioles (45-40) will open up a three-game American League series on Friday night at Camden Yards, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 ET

Detroit Tigers at Baltimore Orioles 

The Baltimore Orioles are trying to post their first winning record in 15 seasons

Detroit pushed its win streak to five games with a 7-1 home victory over the Kansas City Royals, which produced a three-game sweep in the series.  “It’s what I talked about all year,” commented Tigers manager Jim Leyland.  “It’s big hits, some big home runs, good pitching, good bullpen.”  The Tigers will come out of the All-Star break trailing the first-place Chicago White Sox by 3.5 games in the AL Central division standings.  Detroit is 5-2 in its last seven road games versus right-handed starters.

Tigers starting pitcher Doug Fister (2-6, 4.75 ERA) earned an 8-7 home victory over the Kansas City Royals in his last effort, allowing four runs and eight hits over six innings.  The right-hander is 0-4 with a 4.89 ERA in six road starts, issuing seven walks and striking out 28 batters in 35 combined frames.  In four career starts versus the Orioles, Fister has compiled a 2-1 record and 4.68 ERA, including an 0-1 mark and 7.59 ERA in two efforts at Camden Yards.

Baltimore is hoping to snap a string of 14 consecutive losing seasons, but the club is starting to head in the wrong direction after posting a 14-9 record in April, and following it up with a 15-win May.  “We’ve got to do better,” stated Orioles manager Buck Showalter.  The bullpen has been one of the best in baseball leading into the Midsummer Classic, posting an AL-best 2.75 ERA.  Baltimore is 13-3 in its last 16 games following an off day.

Orioles starting pitcher Jason Hammel (8-5, 3.47 ERA) has lost his last three starts, allowing 15 runs and 21 hits over 16.2 combined innings in that span.  The right-hander is 4-1 with a 3.53 ERA in seven home outings, serving up two home runs in 43.1 frames.  In six career games (three starts) versus the Tigers, Hammel has produced a 2-0 record and 6.20 ERA, including a 13-6 home victory on June 17.  He gave up six runs and eight hits over 6.1 innings in that effort.

Bettors will likely back the Orioles due to their 5-2 mark in Hammel’s last seven home starts, while the Tigers are 0-6 in Fister’s last six road efforts.

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