Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Talented righties Fulmer, Iwakuma face off

Tigers rookie righty Michael Fulmer had a five-game winning streak and a scoreless streak of 33 1/3 innings snapped Friday at Kansas City. He'll look to return to the win column Wednesday against righty Hisashi Iwakuma and the Mariners in the third game of a four-game series at Comerica Park.
Seattle sends righty Hisashi Iwakuma, who has won five of his past six starts. Iwakuma (6-5, 4.18 ERA) picked up a win at Boston on Friday, allowing four runs in seven innings in one of Seattle's two wins on its 10-game road trip.
Fulmer's streak of 33 1/3 scoreless innings was the longest by a Tigers rookie in franchise history, but fell short of the all-time record of 38 set by Oakland's Brad Zeigler in 2008.
Fulmer (7-2, 2.43) had a bit of a rocky start, but has pushed his way into early American League Rookie of the Year Award conversations after gaining confidence in his changeup. Fulmer lowered his ERA from 6.52 after four starts to 2.52, and holds a 0.36 ERA in June.
He said he has benefited from following Justin Verlander's spot in the rotation and taking advice from the veteran righty.
"I'm learning so much up here, and I'm sure I'll learn a lot more from [Tuesday's] game watching [Verlander]," Fulmer said. "I'm pumped that he's right in front of me in the rotation, because it's easier for me to see what he does to a team. You can see him thinking out there. Like, he thinks three pitches in advance, and everything he does has a purpose."
Fulmer said Verlander has been mentoring him, even during games, on how to approach certain hitters. Fulmer is garnering comparison to the last Tigers rookie to win the award -- Verlander.
Three things to know about this game
• Of Fulmer's 10 career starts, only two have been at Comerica, both of which were wins. Fulmer has a 0.69 ERA and a 0.77 WHIP at home.
• Iwakuma is 1-1 in five career starts against the Tigers. His lone win came at Detroit, and he has a 1.20 ERA in two starts at Comerica Park. 
• The Mariners have homered in 14 straight games and 25 of their past 27. Seattle's 105 homers are second in the Majors, behind only Baltimore (109).

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