Even though the Detroit Tigers' players might not admit it publicly, there's likely some lingering bitterness left over from last October, when the Boston Red Sox wrecked the dream of a second straight World Series appearance, squeaking by the Tigers in six games.
For the first time in 2014, the retooled Tigers will get their shot at some revenge in Fenway Park. the place where their season heartbreakingly concluded a year ago. After spending plenty of time at home lately, it's time for Detroit to hit the road again, with series in Baltimore and Cleveland also book ending the week and a half trip. Here's what to watch for.
May 13-14 at Baltimore Orioles
2014 Record Against Detroit: 1-3
Player To Watch: Ubaldo Jimenez, SP. Considering Jimenez was with the Indians the past few seasons, the pitcher should know his way around Detroit's lineup, and will see the Tigers for the first time having missed them in April at Comerica Park. Typically, Jimenez doesn't fare well against Detroit thorough the years, but perhaps in some new surroundings, he can have more success and help his team.
Series Storyline: Who's the hotter team? Entering Monday night, both the Tigers and Orioles had been two of the hotter teams in the American League with solid records. Detroit managed to win a tightly contested game. When the dust settles on the two remaining games of the series, which club will be seen as hotter? Could the teams meet in the playoffs?
May 16-18 at Boston Red Sox
2013 Record Against Detroit: 3-4 regular season, 4-2 in ALCS.
Player To Watch: David Ortiz, 1B/DH. The man who still gives all of Detroit nightmares is back to his old tricks, slugging 7 homers and 19 RBI so far in 2014 with a solid .267 average. Detroit pitching will have to be extremely careful with the powerful Ortiz both early and late and not let him do any more damage on the scoreboard or to their already fragile psyche.
Series Storyline: Do Fenway ghosts still linger? The Tigers have had a horrible track record at Fenway Park during regular seasons (a 1-3 record lat year) and managed to break that by stealing one game and nearly two during the 2013 ALCS. Both their playoff losses there, though, were in heartbreaking fashion, and strange things usually happen in the old ballpark. What will happen this time?
May 19-21 at Cleveland Indians
2014 Record Against Detroit: 1-1
Player To Watch: Michael Brantley, LF. With seven home runs and 30 RBI, Brantley is quietly having a break out season at the plate, and Detroit struggled badly with him the last time around at Comerica Park. To beat Detroit's pitching, the Indians will need all hands on deck thumping the ball, and it starts with Brantley getting on base near the middle of the order.
Series Storyline: Are the Indians ready to make a statement? After leaving Detroit in mid-April, the Indians didn't look good, but have since rebounded, winners of five out of their last six games. In the process with hitting and solid pitching, they've shown the signs of the team that is supposed to challenge the Tigers for the Central Division. This series could help cut into Detroit's lead, and Cleveland likely needs two out of three or a sweep to make a statement that they're here to stay in 2014.Baltimore Orioles, Baseball, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, David Ortiz, Detroit, Detroit Tigers, Michael Brantley, MLB
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