A seven-game winning streak has planted the Detroit Tigers (19-9) firmly atop the American League standings on Wednesday with a five-game advantage in the loss column over the Oakland Athletics. Detroit hopes to continue its hot streak Wednesday evening when it hosts the Houston Astros (10-23) for the third matchup in a four-game series at Comerica Park.
TV: 7:08 p.m. ET, CSN Houston, FSN Detroit
The Tigers will turn to Rick Porcello, who hopes to continue the dominant starting pitching that the staff has demonstrated during the streak. Detroit starters have allowed just nine earned runs over 47 1/3 innings in the past seven games, good for a slim 1.71 ERA.
Porcello did his part to keep the streak alive on Friday, holding the Kansas City Royals to two runs in seven strong innings. The young right-hander owns a respectable 3.66 ERA and has won four of his first five starts on the season.
Houston will counter with 26-year-old Brad Peacock, a righty making his fourth start of the year after spending much of April in the bullpen. Peacock has been reliable for the Astros since joining the starting rotation, allowing seven earned runs in 16 innings of work.
Coming off of a game in which they recorded a season-high 18 hits, the Tigers will need to settle down and be patient at the plate on Wednesday. Peacock has struggled with command lately, issuing 12 free passes during three starts. Detroit will need to show patience against the Houston starter, despite ranking 27th in the MLB with only 80 walks as a team.
Part of the reason Detroit rarely draws walks is because the entire lineup is hitting during this winning streak. The Tigers are hitting .327 during the streak, which marks the best average in baseball during that span. Torii Hunter has led the charge with his 13-game hitting streak, and Victor Martinez is right behind him with hits in his last nine.
Another Tiger bat that has perked up in the last week is that of Miguel Cabrera, who recorded four hits and four RBI on Tuesday. Cabrera has notched 12 hits during the streak and raised his average from .259 to .293. The MVP looks like his old self in the month of May, hitting .364 with four doubles, a home run and eight RBI.
With Detroit owning the best batting average and ERA in the MLB during the streak, and Cabrera emerging from a slow start, Houston has been greatly outmatched in the series. The Tigers appear to be hitting their stride as they have doubled the Astros’ hit total in each of the first two games.
If Detroit can stretch its streak to eight wins on Wednesday night, it will turn to young Drew Smyly to complete the four-game sweep on Thursday afternoon.