After leaving the west coast and returning home, the Detroit Tigers will need to leave the carefree attitude behind them as it results to their at-bats. In the midst of a new three game losing streak, offense has been the main bone of contention.
The pitching, meanwhile, was solid, compiling a 3.51 ERA on the trip. Detroit doesn't return home in danger of falling out of first, but their Central Division lead has been sliced down a bit more, making the series with Chicago all the more important to regain additional footing.
1. Wake Up The Bats. On the west coast swing, the Tigers hit .234 as a team, and had a notable lack of clutch hitting, run production and power hitting. The good news? Detroit hits much better at home (.285), yet is only 26-25 on their home turf in 2014. They'll need to put the pitching and hitting together for this series. Jose Quintana, 2-0 in his last two decisions while only giving up three total runs in his last two starts pitches, meaning the job might not get any easier for Detroit soon.
2. Joakim Soria's Home Debut. Detroit's new reliever didn't see much activity in Los Angeles, but could be used today if the Tigers need a reliever in the late innings. In his team debut, Soria came in for Justin Verlander and allowed one hit, one unearned run and collected one walk and one strikeout. Lifetime at Comerica Park, Soria has 27 strikeouts and only six walks.
3. Central Cooking. Detroit is 23-19 against divisional foes, with their last series against the Cleveland Indians being the ugliest of the season losing three out of four. In 2014, Detroit is 5-4 against the White Sox, with a 2-2 record in Detroit. The last time the teams met in Motown in late April, Detroit won 7-4, with Max Scherzer notching the win.
4. Can Anibal Sanchez Be Solid Late? If the Tigers' ace pitches deep into the game, chances are, the opposition will catch on in time. Throughout the first three innings, Sanchez has a 2.01 ERA. From 4-6, it's a respectable 3.40. Then, in the late stages, things get exceptionally bad. From innings 7-9, Sanchez has an ugly 12.96 ERA. In his only start against Chicago in 2014, Sanchez was the loser in a 3-1 defeat, but pitched well and gave his team a chance to win. Today, he will have to hope for the offense to back him up, rendering the late innings a bit easier to navigate.
5. Jose Abreu. The Tigers haven't limited Abreu's damage much this season, as the sudden slugger is hitting .306 against Detroit with four home runs and seven RBI. It's the third most total of homers Abreu has hit against any American League team in 2014. One of the hits was a bomb to center field at Comerica Park against Verlander. This time around, the Tigers will have to do better to deal with Abreu and his light tower power.
Max DeMara is the editor of @tigers_101. Follow the site there on Twitter, or like it on Facebook to connect with him.
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Tags: Anibal Sanchez, Baseball, Detroit, Detroit Tigers, Joakim Soria, Jose Abreu, MLB