Looking at the standings, it seems that the Tigers are a less-than-good team, and, yeah, that's generally true. They're ten games under .500 and rank last or next-to-last among American League clubs in several offensive categories. Their pitching isn't so bad, but it isn't great, either, and you'd think the Mariners would have a relatively easy time in a series against them. You'd think. But when the Tigers visited TMP last month, they swept the Mariners in the three-game set and were responsible for one of the two no-hitters the M's were victim to this year.
The man who no-hit them, Spencer Trumbull, is on the injured list now, so the M's won't have to see him again. They will face Matthew Boyd and Casey Mize, then Trumbull's spot will be filled by the one known for now as "TBA." Boyd last saw the Mariners in 2019 (0-1, 5.40 ERA in two starts), while Mize beat Seattle on May 17th of this year with 72⁄3 strong innings in a 4-1 Detroit victory. Both are competent pitchers, with Mize the more impressive hurler, a first-round draft choice in 2018 and still a rookie despite seven starts in last year's mini-season.
At bat, the Tigers are not terribly ferocious. Their best hitters so far are rookie outfielder Akil Baddoo and utilityman Harold Castro; they and switch-hitting outfielder Robbie Grossman are the only Tigers with on-base marks above .340. Detroit doesn't hit a lot of homers in their spacious ballpark, so they do more running on the bases—the Tigers are fourth in the AL in steals with 34 going into this series.
Seattle will start pitchers Marco Gonzales, Chris Flexen, and Justus Sheffield in the three games. Gonzales is still working his way back after serving some time on the injured list with a forearm strain and will be limited to 70-75 pitches in his start. Neither Flexen nor Sheffield has ever faced Detroit.
|vs. AL West||6-4|
Who’s Hot & Not
Last ten games
.405/.488/.973, 6 HR, 11 RBI
.333/.400/.567, 1 HR, 6 RBI
.158/.195/.263, 8 Ks
.143/.139/.171, 14 Ks
.103/.178/.179, 16 Ks
.125/.200/.188, 12 Ks
Last 3 series vs. Seattle
|5/19/21||DET 6, SEA 2|
|5/18/21||DET 5, SEA 0|
|5/17/21||DET 4, SEA 1|
|8/15/19||SEA 7, DET 2|
|8/14/19||DET 3, SEA 2|
|8/13/19||SEA 11, DET 6|
|7/28/19||SEA 3, DET 2|
|7/27/19||SEA 8, DET 1|
|7/26/19||SEA 3, DET 2|
|7/25/19||SEA 10, DET 2|
A.J. Hinch: Can you believe this guy is back managing so quickly? Fired by the Astros and suspended for a year by the Commissioner's Office for his role in the Astros' cheating scandal, Hinch, like fellow cheater Alex Cora, had no trouble finding a new gig once the suspension ran its course. He really lucked out in that his suspension year was 2020, the oddity year of short schedules and wonky playoffs and no fans. The Tigers signed Hinch for three years, apparently not bothered by any stink of scandal, and Hinch himself paints his role in the Astros' cheating as a passive one; according to his own accounts, Hinch had no involvement in devising or participating in the sign-stealing scheme, but he knew about it and didn't do anything to stop it.
The Tigers want Hinch to do in Detroit what he did in Houston—sans the cheating, of course—which is to take a young team that hasn't won in a while (their last over-.500 season was 2016) and mold them into a championship squad. "The building part of this," said Hinch, "trying to build a winner, is something I’m very focused on. That experience in Houston of taking over a team that hadn’t talked about winning for a decade and now needed to shift a mindset...I hope it’s valuable for the players here and certainly it’s valuable to me."
Ramon Santiago: No active Detroit players have ever suited up for the Mariners, but first-base coach Ramon Santiago has. Santiago had a brief Mariner tenure in 2004-05, arriving in a deal for shortstop Carlos Guillén and playing in 27 games for Seattle while spending the bulk of those years at Triple-A Tacoma. He ended up with a batting line of .170/.291/.191 as a Mariner and .243/.314/.330 overall in his 13-year playing career.
|Detroit Tigers||(1901 - present)|
|World Champions:||1935, 1945, 1968, 1984|
|League Champions:||1907, 1908, 1909, 1934, 1940, 2006, 2012|
|Division Titles:||1972, 1987, 2011, 2013, 2014|