Just five days ago the Detroit Tigers (21-12) were riding an eight-game winning streak before suffering a 6-2 loss to the Houston Astros. Yesterday the Baltimore Orioles (20-15) had their season-high five-game streak snapped by those same Astros, and hope to rebound at home against Detroit.
The Tigers have lost three of their last four games since the winning streak, but maintained a five-game lead in the American League Central Division. They will look to starter Rick Porcello to right the ship against an Orioles team that he beat in his first start of the season.
TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, FSN Detroit, MASN (Baltimore)
Porcello has been the most pleasant surprise of the pitching staff for manager Brad Ausmus through six starts. The 25-year-old has won five of his six starts and owns a 3.49 ERA. Porcello is producing more fly balls this season (63) and has cut down the number of base hits he allowed during the 2013 campaign.
Porcello will have to be careful with a Baltimore lineup littered with batters that love to face the young righty. J.J. Hardy and Nick Markakis both hit over .400 against Porcello, while slugger Chris Davis has hit three home runs in just 15 at bats against him.
Davis is fresh off of his recovery from a left oblique strain that sidelined him for 12 games. In his first game back in the lineup Davis had two hits to raise his season average to .263.
Just as Baltimore reinserted last season's AL leader in home runs and RBI into the lineup, starting catcher Matt Wieters went on the disabled list with a right elbow strain. Wieters ranks second on the team in home runs and third in both RBI and batting average. The 27-year-old recorded two hits, including a home run, against Detroit in early April.
Bud Norris will take the mound for the Orioles looking to earn his third win in four starts. Despite a strong 3.82 ERA, he has notched just two quality starts this season. He took a loss to Porcello and the Tigers on April 5, allowing five earned runs in five innings.
Norris will look to contain a Tiger offense that has scored three or fewer runs in four of its last five games heading into Monday night. Austin Jackson has remained consistent throughout the struggles, riding a nine-game hitting streak and hitting .301. Jackson has recorded multiple hits during just one game of the streak, and all but two of the hits have been singles. The former lead-off hitter has been more willing to run on the base paths recently, stealing three bases in his last seven games.
Monday's game marks the first of a three-game series with the Orioles and the start of a road trip that runs through May 21. The Tigers have played the fewest road games in baseball this season, but own a 8-4 record away from Comerica Park.