Going 2-2 over a stretch of four games might not seem much to get excited about for most teams, but considering where the Detroit Tigers have been for most of this young season, it’s definitely progress.
After losing 16 of their previous 18 games, the Tigers have won two of their last four in an effort to climb out of their status as the team with the worst record in baseball.
Detroit still holds that distinction with a 10-24 record, but there have been some signs of life as they head into Sunday’s meeting with the visiting Minnesota Twins.
After entering last week with a team batting average below .200 and averaging barely three runs a game, Detroit has scored 32 runs in its past five games.
“Our game-planning has gotten a tick better,” Tigers manager AJ Hinch said. “The players are taking it into the game and executing it. Really to a man, they have delved a little deeper into what we need to do to be successful. When you see it on the field, and you see the benefits of it, you hope it catches a little momentum and we can continue that.”
On the other side, Minnesota continues to struggle after beginning the season as the favorite to win the AL Central in the eyes of many.
The Twins are 12-20 and have lost four of their last five games.
Minnesota has scored more than three runs in just one of those games and saw its bullpen implode against the Tigers on Saturday, allowing five runs after the game was tied at 2-2 after the first six innings.
“Winning a lot of times is messy,” Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said. “It’s not always homers and doubles and guys going seven shutout innings.”
The pitching matchup will feature Matthew Boyd of the Tigers vs. Kenta Maeda of the Twins.
Boyd is making his first start since leaving an outing at the Chicago White Sox on April 29 due to what was described as left knee tendinitis.
Boyd missed his last start, but is ready to go for Sunday’s game.
After struggling during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Boyd is off to a good start and could be a trade candidate to a contending team if he keeps pitching well.
Boyd enters with a 2-3 record, a 2.27 earned-run average and a WHIP of .93.
In his first start against Minnesota this season on April 7, Boyd struck out eight and walked none in seven innings, but allowed three runs and took the loss. In 22 career starts against the Twins, Boyd is 8-8 with a 4.56 ERA.
Maeda has struggled to start the year with a 2-2 record, a 5.02 earned-run average and a 1.53 WHIP coming into the game.
Maeda is coming off his second win of the season on Monday against Texas, where he gave up two hits, two walks, no runs and struck out eight in 5 1/3 innings.
Maeda was the winning pitcher against the Tigers on April 7, allowing two runs and one walk while striking out six in six innings. In five career starts against Detroit, Maeda is 2-2 with a 4.50 ERA.
–Field Level Media