ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera has made it look easy against the Tampa Bay Rays the last few seasons, batting over .500.
Cabrera looks to follow up a 4-for-4 night when the Tigers visit Tampa Bay for the second of a three-game series on Saturday.
The reigning American League MVP has 17 hits in his last 29 at-bats over eight games against the Rays, including two homers in the 6-3 victory on Friday.
The Rays also lost their top hitter, Evan Longoria, on Friday after he irritated a plantar fasciitis injury and he is expected to miss at least one game.
Rookie Wil Myers, who belted his third homer on Friday and has hit in nine of his first 11 career games, will have to pick up some of the slack.
Matt Joyce needs to raise his game as well after going 3-for-28 with no RBIs over the last nine contests.
TV: 7:15 p.m. ET, FOX
PITCHING MATCHUP: Tigers RH Justin Verlander (8-5, 3.90 ERA) vs. Rays RH Chris Archer (2-3, 4.21)
After winning four straight, Verlander has gone winless in three starts and gave up nine runs over 10 innings in the last two. The 2011 American League MVP is 5-2 on the road and has allowed 99 hits in 97 innings overall while striking out 110 and walking 35. Joyce is 6-for-14 with two homers in his career vs. Verlander, who is 6-3 lifetime in 12 starts against Tampa Bay with a 3.86 ERA.
Archer is starting to make headway in his battle for a full-time rotation spot after beating the New York Yankees in his last start, yielding one run over six innings. The 24-year-old has surrendered two or fewer runs in three of his last four starts, although he lasted less than five frames in two of them. Archer has struggled with control, walking 15, and has struck out 22 over 25 2/3 innings overall.
1. The Tigers have beaten the Rays in 15 of their last 19 meetings and three of four this season.
2. Tampa Bay 1B James Loney is 14-for-36 during a nine-game hitting streak.
3. Detroit DH Victor Martinez was 0-for-4 on Friday, but is batting .360 with nine homers and 47 RBIs in 66 career games against the Rays.
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