The Tampa Bay Rays host the Detroit Tigers Friday in the first game of a three-game series. The Rays are 71-51 while the Tigers are 36-81. Left-hander Daniel Norris (3-10) gets the start for the Tigers while the Rays go with right-hander Charlie Morton (13-4). Game time is 7:10 p.m. Eastern at Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay.
Tigers suffering through long season
There’s not a lot to say about the Detroit Tigers. They are 36-82 and they are flirting with one of the worst records in modern MLB history. The worst team in recent years was the 2003 Tigers, which won only 43 games. The 2018 Orioles only won 47 games. The 2019 Tigers have a chance to be among that group under 50 wins. They are more focused on developing their youngsters at this point. But that hasn’t translated into wins as they have lost 4 of their last 5, including a loss to the Mariners on Thursday afternoon. Spencer Turnbull (3-11) took the loss. Miguel Cabrera had a home run and an RBI and Victor Reyes had 2 hits.
The Tigers offense is very bad. They average just 3.6 runs per game, which is 29th in the league. They hit just .237 as a team, which is also 29th, and they have a slugging percentage of .387, which is, yes, 29th in baseball. Ansd, of course, they are 29th in home runs. Brandon Dixon leads the Tigers batting .258 with 14 HRs and 43 RBIs. Miguel Cabrera is batting .284 with 8 home runs and 47 RBIs. He leads the team in RBIs. Harold Castro leads the team with an average of .285 with 3 home runs and 25 RBIs.
Their pitching is not good either, as one might expect from a team that’s only won 36 games. The Tigers have a team ERA of 5.20, which is 28th in the MLB. They have a team WHIP of 1.44, which ranks 24th in the league. Daniel Norris gets the start on Friday. The left-hander is 3-10 with an ERA of 4.94. He gave up 4 runs in 3 innings in a loss last time out.
Rays are on fire
There’s no one playing better than the Tampa Bay Rays right now. They have won 12 of their last 15 games and 5 of their last 6 to improve to 712-51. While it is unlikely that they catch the Yankees in the AL East, they have managed to wrest control of one of the wildcard spots with their strong play. They hold a 2 game lead for that second spot over the A’s. They took 2 of 3 this week from San Diego, but stumbled on Wednesday losing 7-2. Jalen Beeks (5-2) took the loss, allowing 5 runs in 5 innings. Tommy Pham went 2 for 4 with a home run and 2 RBIs, but that was about it.Travis D’Arnaud and Willy Adames also had 2 hits each.
The Rays offense has been crushing it in recent weeks. They average 4.7 runs per game, which is 19th in the league. They have a team batting average of .255, which is 11th in the league and they have a slugging percentage of .433, which is 16th. They are 19th in home runs. Eric Sogard leads the Rays batting .306 with 13 home runs and 38 RBIs. Austin Meadows is batting .283 with 20 home runs and 58 RBIs. He leads the team in HRs and RBIs. Tommy Pham has 17 HRs and 51 RBIs. Brandon Lowe and Yonny Diaz are on the 10 day IL.
The Rays pitching has been their calling card. They have a team ERA of 3.54, which is second in the MLB. They have a WHIP of 1.17, which is third. On Friday they are starting their ace, Charlie Morton. Morton is 13-4 on the year with an ERA of 2.90. The wins are 5th in the AL and the ERA is 4th. He allowed 4 runs in 6 innings in a win in his last start.
- Rays are 4-0 in their last 4 games following an off day.
- Rays are 5-1 in their last 6 during game 1 of a series.
- Rays are 5-1 in their last 6 overall.
- Rays are 5-1 in Mortons last 6 starts vs. American League Central.
- Rays are 4-1 in Mortons last 5 starts with 5 days of rest.
- Rays are 7-2 in Mortons last 9 starts vs. a team with a losing record.
- Rays are 6-2 in Mortons last 8 starts.
- Rays are 5-2 in Mortons last 7 home starts.
- Tigers are 24-49 in their last 73 during game 1 of a series.
- Tigers are 15-36 in their last 51 road games.
- Tigers are 21-62 in their last 83 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Tigers are 11-42 in their last 53 vs. a team with a winning record.
- Tigers are 11-42 in their last 53 overall.
- Tigers are 11-50 in their last 61 games vs. a right-handed starter.
- Tigers are 1-7 in their last 8 vs. American League East.