Sunday, April 17, 2016

Hard-fought series between Tigers, Astros comes to a close

The Tigers and Astros face off for the rubber match of their three-game set on Sunday in Minute Maid Park. The series has been evenly matched so far, with the teams splitting a pair of hotly contested contests.
For the visitors it's all about heading toward another destination with a win after some run-scoring struggles through two games in Houston. Right-hander Anibal Sanchez gets the ball for Detroit, and he'll look to build on some early-season success.
Despite struggles getting to the sixth in the past, Sanchez has reliably reached that inning in each of his first two starts, with five scoreless frames in both. But he hasn't finished a sixth yet thanks to allowing a pair of runs before being pulled in both outings. He's still arguably been Detroit's most consistent starter through a couple turns of the rotation.
Houston will counter with its own veteran right-hander, Mike Fiers, to close out a seven-game homestand. Fiers has a 1.64 ERA in 11 career innings against the Tigers across two starts. He labored a bit early in his first two outings this season but has proven to be a reliable innings-eater against quality American League lineups.
Things to know about this game:
• Though the Astros are one of the most prolific homer-hitting teams in baseball, they're now just 3-7 when launching a homer after dropping Saturday's game despite two long balls in the first inning.
• Double plays could keep bailing out the Tigers. Five combined double plays on Friday and Saturday have pushed their tally to 17 this season, the second most in the AL.
• Detroit's Miguel Cabrera is two RBIs shy of tying Jim Rice for 61st all-time in MLB. Cabrera currently has 1,449 RBIs in 1,948 career games.

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