Wednesday night will feature a matchup of the AL West versus the AL Central when the Houston Astros (28-15) take on the Detroit Tigers (18-22) at Comerica Park. This is the finale of a three-game series, with the Astros taking the first two games 8-1 and 11-4. In Tuesday’s contest, the Astros picked up 14 hits, including homers by Carlos Correa, Aldemys Diaz and an inside-the-park home run by George Springer, his AL-leading 16th home run of the season.
Wade Miley picked up the win, going six innings and allowing four earned runs. In the loss, Ronny Rodriguez went 2 for 4 with a home run and three runs batted in. The contest on Wednesday will feature a familiar face for Tigers fans. Justin Verlander (6-1, 2.51 ERA) will be taking the ball to face off with the Tigers, who as of this writing had not announced their starting pitcher. First pitch for this one is scheduled for 7:10 pm ET.
By The Numbers
Offensively, Houston comes into this one on quite a roll. They currently rank second in the majors in runs scored (5.45) and sit tops in home runs per game (1.88). For Detroit, they come in at 29th averaging 3.46 runs per game and 29th with 0.82 home runs per game. Only Miami ranks lower in both of the categories.
Pitching wise, it is still the Astros that come out way ahead. They currently rank fourth in earned run average at 3.57 (3.47 on the road), while the Detroit Tigers come in at 21st with a 4.71 ERA (4.80 at home).
One of the most telling stats, though, might be run differential. Houston currently ranks tops in the majors with a run differential of +76, while Detroit ranks 28th at -56. In other words, the Astros have had a much easier time outscoring their opponents while the Tigers are getting outscored by theirs.
Astros Hope To Keep Rolling
The Houston Astros have been on quite a roll as of late, and it is starting to show in the standings. After having won seven games in a row, the Astros currently sit at 28-15, 7.5 games ahead of the second-place Seattle Mariners. To make matters worse for the Tigers, going for eight in a row will be staff ace Justin Verlander.
On the season, Verlander is 6-1 in nine starts with a 2.51 ERA, 0.82 WHIP and opponents are hitting a paltry .163 off of him. In 57.1 innings, he has given up just 33 hits, 16 earned runs, and 14 walks while also striking out 68 batters. One area where he has been susceptible is the long ball as he has already given up 10 home runs.
In his last start, a 3-0 win over the Texas Rangers, Verlander went seven innings, allowing just one hit, two walks, and no runs while striking out eight. He will look to keep the momentum going against the Tigers Wednesday.
Offensively, there may not be too many hitters hotter than George Springer right now. On the season, he is hitting .329/.410/.671 with 16 home runs, 39 runs batted in and 39 runs scored. In fact, in his last seven days, he has hit five of those home runs while hitting .536/.576/1.107.
The scary thing for opponents is the Astros lineup is loaded with hitters. Even with Jose Altuve on the injured list, they have a barrage of hitters to attack you with. Jake Marisnick, Carlos Correa, Josh Reddick, George Springer, and Michael Brantley are all hitting .297 or higher, while Brantley, Springer, Correa, and Alex Bregman all have double-digit home runs. Needless to say, there aren’t too many holes in this lineup to expose.
Tigers Looking For Positives
Sadly, when you look at the run differential for the Detroit Tigers, it could be worse when it comes to their record. In a weak AL Central, the Tigers currently sit in fourth thanks to an even weaker Kansas City Royals team. Still, the offense for the Tigers is lackluster at best.
One pleasant surprise has been the play of Ronny Rodriguez. On the season, he is hitting .312/.357/.701 with six home runs, 17 runs batted in and 13 runs scored. Unfortunately for the Tigers, though, there hasn’t been a whole lot. His six home runs lead the team, and the next highest is just three (shared by Miguel Cabrera, Nick Castellanos, and others).
Still, the Tigers will hope that their pitching can keep them in it because as the last two days have indicated, they are not going to be able to keep up in a slugfest.
Astros Finish The Sweep
There just isn’t a whole lot to like for Detroit in this one. The Astros are rolling, their offense is obliterating the ball, and they have ace Justin Verlander on the mound. At this point in the season, the Tigers likely know they have little to no chance of postseason play and are likely just playing for draft positioning and to show off possible trade chips. For my money, the smart bet is to go with Justin Verlander and the Astros.