DETROIT – After blowout losses in each of their last two games, the Detroit Tigers (48-36) will try to split a four-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays (40-50) with a win on Sunday night. Detroit won the first game of the series 8-1, but Tampa Bay outscored the host Tigers by a total of 13-5 in the two following games.
Each of the last two Tiger starters have struggled against the Tampa Bay offense. Drew Smyly gave up five runs in 5.1 innings on Friday before Anibal Sanchez allowed a season-high seven earned runs Saturday. On Sunday, Rick Porcello will look to stop the bleeding and help Detroit get back on track.
TV: 8 p.m. ET; ESPN "Sunday Night Baseball"
Porcello is coming off the two best starts of his career: both complete-game shutouts. The 25-year-old had never thrown a shutout before dominating Texas on June 26, but he immediately topped that performance by silencing Oakland, the best offensive team in baseball, on July 1.
Rays batters have hit .238 with no home runs against Porcello in 84 at-bats. The righty owns a 2-2 record and 2.73 ERA in five career starts against Tampa Bay.
David Price will toe the rubber for the Rays, coming off a streak of eight straight starts of seven or more innings and seven straight quality starts. The Tampa Bay ace has lowered his ERA from 4.03 to 3.50 in his last five outings, and will face Detroit for the first time since June of 2012.
Price has never allowed more than two runs against the Tigers, owning a career 4-1 record and 2.41 ERA in five starts. Detroit's offense will need to find a way to get to Price if it hopes to avoid losing the series to the Rays.
The Tigers will enjoy an off day on Monday before welcoming the Los Angeles Dodgers to Comerica Park for two games on Tuesday and Wednesday.