MARINERS (49-72) AT TIGERS (36-81)
1:10 p.m. ET; FS-D, ROOTNW, MLB.TV
Kyle Seager has seen his production decline in recent seasons, but there are signs the Seattle Mariners third baseman may be on the upswing after his 2019 season was delayed by an injury.
Seager hit three homers and drove in six runs against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday. He had a single and a walk on Wednesday. The teams will play the rubber match of the three-game series at Detroit’s Comerica Park on Thursday afternoon.
Seager’s first two homers of the series came against left-handed ace Matthew Boyd.
“He does have a track record of hitting homers against the lefties,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said of the 31-year-old left-handed batter. “He always has throughout his career. It’s nice to see him getting some payback for all the work he put in this offseason. He’s getting the results he’s looking for, and hopefully it continues.”
Seager hasn’t lived up to the seven-year, $100 million contract he signed prior to the 2015 season. His home run total dropped from a career-best 30 in 2016 to 27 and 22 the past two seasons. His batting average plunged from .278 to .249 to .221.
A torn tendon in his right hand delayed his 2019 season until May 25. Nearly two months after his return, his batting average was .186.
But Seager has finally caught fire, batting .383 with seven home runs and 15 RBIs in his past 17 games. Overall, he’s hitting .238 with 14 homers and 34 RBIs.
“It’s definitely nice,” Seager said to MLB.com. “It certainly validates the winter a lot. I changed a lot of things up physically, then put myself in a bit of a hole trying to tinker with my swing. Kind of going back to what I’ve done with (hitting coach) Tim Laker, it definitely feels good.”
The Mariners haven’t listed a starting pitcher for Thursday’s game, but Tommy Milone is expected to eat up some of the innings.
Milone (1-7, 4.70 ERA) had a respectable outing against Detroit on July 28, allowing two runs in five innings while getting a no-decision. However, he has been shelled in three of his past five appearances overall, giving up three homers in six or fewer innings each time.
In his last outing on Saturday, the left-hander was taken deep three times in four innings while surrendering five runs to Tampa Bay.
He is 4-1 with a 3.45 ERA in 10 career outings (seven starts) against Detroit.
Detroit rookie Spencer Turnbull (3-10, 3.68 ERA) hasn’t recorded a win since May 31, mainly due to lack of support. In his past nine appearances, the Tigers have been shut out four times and scored two or fewer runs on three other occasions.
In his last start on Saturday, Turnbull held Kansas City to two runs on three hits in six innings but took the loss in a 7-0 defeat. He has never faced Seattle.
Detroit won 3-2 on Wednesday and has a chance to win a home series for the first time since early May. The Mariners had a 5-0 record against the Tigers this year until the squeaker.
“We have been swinging better, and we’re scoring some runs,” Detroit manager Ron Gardenhire said. “That was a really tense ballgame if you’re sitting in the manager’s chair because we want to win so badly, and the guys are giving you everything they have.”
–Field Level Media