Tampa Bay struggled out of the gate, starting 24-42 before a 14-7 stretch brought the team within one game of the fourth-place Boston Red Sox. The Rays are riding their longest winning streak of the season, five games, after sweeping the Yankees in New York.
The Tigers are also coming off of an impressive series, a sweep over the Oakland Athletics. Detroit increased its lead in the AL Central to 4.5 games with the sweep, and edged within 2.5 games of the A's for the top record in the AL.
On Thursday the Tigers will go for their fourth straight win behind Max Scherzer. The defending Cy Young Award winner put together two straight quality starts after allowing 10 runs on June 17. Rays batters have hit seven home runs in 131 at-bats and own a .237 average against Scherzer.
Erik Bedard will take the mound for Tampa Bay, coming off his longest start of the season. The 35-year-old held the Orioles to three runs in seven innings on June 28 for his fourth win. Torii Hunter is the only Tiger to own an average over .300 against Bedard, who holds the entire roster to a .250 average.
Detroit will play four games against Tampa Bay before welcoming the Los Angeles Dodgers to Comerica Park to finish the home stand.