Thursday: Tigers 6, Astros 5
Friday: McHugh vs. Simon, 6:08 PM, ROOT
Saturday: McCullers vs. Lobstein, 3:08 PM, ROOT
Sunday: Hernandez vs. Sanchez, 12:08 PM, ROOT
Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.
I confess to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned. I brought back the Series Preview at a time when NOTHING should have changed. I didn’t respect the streak, and we as fans paid the price via a sweep at the hands of our friends from
But times are better, the team righted the ship with a 7-2 home stand, and game 1 of the Tigers series was a near miss, a good loss in the sense that it underlined something that we have all likely picked up on about this team: They are never out of a game. Good bullpens and power hitters work together well that way.
As for the schedule – your guess is as good as mine; maybe the Tigers inflated payroll is leading them to cut down on their electric bills.
Friday: McHugh (5-1, 4.09) at Simon (4-2, 3.04)
I don’t know about you, but that ERA for McHugh is much higher than I would have thought by just watching him pitch. And Simon’s is much lower than I like to see from my opponents.
McHugh has faced current Tigers for only 5 AB, and 2 of those are against pitcher Tom Gorzellany – it’s basically Cespedes and his 1 for 3 that are any history. I’ll take my chances with McHugh and his ability to change eye levels the first time facing these guys, and go for a very strong outing.
Simon has allowed 9 for 27 against the Astros, mostly from Valbuena (3-13, 1 HR). He mixes two-and four-seam fastballs with occasional (<20%) breaking stuff.
Saturday: McCullers (0-0, 1.93) at Lobstein (3-4, 4.29)
Neither pitcher has ever faced a hitter from the opposing team. Historically, this does not bode well for the Astros; but since when do the forces of history apply to the current team?
McCullers was impressive in his initial outing, flashing an 89-90 MPH “changeup” that the hometown scoreboard kept calling a fastball to go with 97 MPH heat and a wicked curve. We’ll see if he can go a little deeper against this Tigers lineup, as it would be nice to spare the pen a little following Thursday’s extra-inning affair.
Lobstein is a lefty who has pounded the ball low and away to lefties, but shown some wildness against righties – this bodes well for the good guys and their RH dominant lineup.
Astros get McCullers his first W.
Sunday: Hernandez (2-3, 3.99) at Sanchez (3-5, 5.60)
Hernandez has struggled against these Tigers, allowing a .326 average (30-92). Most of the damage has come courtesy of Miguel Cabrera (13-36, 3 HR) and Rajai Davis (9-21). Hernandez has at least fared well against Kinsler (4-20, 5 K) and JD Martinez (0-5).
Sanchez has owned the Astros, allowing only 12-54 with 1 HR and 21 K (to only 2 BB). He is surely viewing this as a chance to right his ship for this season, which according to Tigers fans has actually shown long stretches of good pitching, but interspersed with mistakes to good hitters. Expect potential rest for Carter (0-6, 5 K), Castro (2-11, plus Hernandez is pitching), and Rasmus (4-19, 11 K). Sanchez mixes pitches well, featuring a slider and change as frequently as his four-seam fastball.