Red hot Tigers return home against Astros

Detroit won six of seven against Houston in 2013


DETROIT – Comerica Park will host two teams heading in opposite directions Monday as the Detroit Tigers (17-9) battle the Houston Astros (10-21).

Detroit is coming off of a road trip in which they won six of seven games. The Tigers are riding a five-game winning streak and own a 4.5-game lead in the AL Central Division.

Check: MLB Standings

Houston has lost two straight games and owns the worst record in baseball. The Astros have been the proverbial punching bag in their second year in the American League, as opponents have outscored them by 55 runs.

The pitching matchup on Monday appears to be similarly one-sided, as defending Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer will toe the rubber against Jarred Cosart.

Cosart has struggled in his last five starts and owns an inflated 5.52 ERA on the season. The youngster hasn't won a game since his season debut on April 2 against the New York Yankees.

Scherzer, on the other hand, looks like a pitcher trying to earn a big contract in free agency this offseason. The right-hander is 3-1 with a 2.08 ERA and has allowed just three earned runs in 20 innings over his last three starts.

The Detroit offense woke up in Kansas City over the weekend, when it smashed the Royals pitching for 26 runs in three games. Rajai Davis raised his team-leading average to .337 with three hits on Sunday and wreaked havoc on the base paths. Torii Hunter, Victor Martinez and Ian Kinsler are also hitting over .300 for the Detroit offense.

Alex Avila will get the start against a right-handed pitcher Monday after hitting his first two home runs of the season in the weekend series. Avila is hitting .224 with twice as many strikeouts (26) as hits (13) on the season.

None of the players on Houston's roster are hitting over .300 and the team owns the worst overall batting average (.219) in the league. Young second baseman Jose Altuve represents the greatest threat to Scherzer, hitting .289 with 10 RBI and 11 stolen bases.

The Tigers and Astros will play a four-game series in Detroit, with the series finale coming on Thursday afternoon.