ATHLETICS (21-25) AT TIGERS (18-25)
4:10 p.m. ET; FS-D, NBCSCA, MLB.TV
The Detroit Tigers are going through their roughest week of the season.
Manager Ron Gardenhire is hopeful for a swift turnaround, starting with a Saturday afternoon matchup against the Oakland Athletics.
The Tigers have lost the first five games of their 10-game homestand. After getting swept in three games by the Houston Astros, they’ve been outscored 24-5 in the first two games of their four-game series with the A’s.
“Something’s got to change. It’s going to turn our way,” Gardenhire said. “We’re going to get a break here pretty quick. Right now, we’re not getting too many breaks, and maybe you’ve got to make your own breaks. Just got to keep plugging away.”
Gardenhire tore into his players during the Tigers’ 17-3 loss in the opening game of the series on Thursday.
“I said about all I needed to say in the third inning,” Gardenhire told the Detroit News. “I was flinging it out there pretty good. I don’t know what language it was in, but it was definitely not the normal language. I was pretty hot.”
Matthew Boyd (4-3, 3.15 ERA), Detroit’s starter on Saturday, is coming off his shortest outing of the season. Boyd was pulled after four innings on Monday. He threw 96 pitches and gave up three runs, including two homers, in an 8-1 loss to Houston.
“They had a really good approach,” Boyd told MLB.com afterward. “Hats off to them on that. They were patient and they didn’t chase. From the get-go, that’s what they did, among other things.”
That snapped a string of seven consecutive quality starts from the ace left-hander. Boyd had won his previous two starts.
Boyd has only faced the A’s once, getting a no-decision while giving up three runs in five innings.
He’ll be opposed by right-hander Daniel Mengden (0-1, 6.75 ERA). He made his season debut on Sunday, allowing four runs on five hits in 5 1/3 innings in a 5-3 loss to Cleveland.
Mengden gave up two first-inning runs, then settled in and threw 100 pitches before getting pulled.
“Maybe he was trying to be a bit too fine early on. They made him work pretty hard,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said, according to MLB.com. “He was probably lucky to get out with only two runs in the first and then ends up in the sixth. He recovered really well.”
Mengden was 3-2 with a 2.77 ERA in seven outings, including six starts, with Triple-A Las Vegas before the call-up.
He pitched seven scoreless innings in his lone career outing against the Tigers two seasons ago.
Oakland’s offense has erupted over the past two games following a three-game losing streak. The 17-run game on Thursday provided a big lift.
“I think the timing of it was great for us,” first baseman Matt Olson said. “Hopefully, it sparks a run.”
Mark Canha has homered in both games of the series. Khris Davis had three hits and an RBI in the A’s 7-2 victory on Friday. Utility man Chad Pinder homered for the first time since April 10 for Oakland, which entered the series with a 5-15 road record.
–Field Level Media