Tigers banking on law of averages vs. Orioles
DETROIT -- Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus takes a positive viewpoint regarding all the ugly batting averages on his roster. He figures it cannot last much longer.
Many of the Tigers' regulars return to Comerica Park for a six-game homestand trying to break out of batting slumps. They begin the homestand on Tuesday night with a three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles, who have dropped four straight.
The top of Ausmus' lineup has been especially inefficient. Leadoff hitter Ian Kinsler is batting .223 and the usual No. 2 hitter, Nicholas Castellanos, has seen his average tumble to .234 after going 3-for-22 over the last seven days.
Franchise player Miguel Cabrera is hitting .238 and has not homered over the last 10 games.
The futility extends to other parts of the lineup. Platoon center fielder Tyler Collins has gone hitless in his last 26 at-bats, Jose Iglesias has a .204 average and James McCann is saddled with a .179 average.
Victor Martinez's .270 average is highest among the regulars but the cleanup hitter has just one homer after hitting 27 last season.
Ausmus isn't worried about his offense coming around.
"This happens over the course of a season," Ausmus told the Detroit News. "It happens to every team, even the good offensive teams. It happened to us last year and we were one of the better offensive teams in the league. This team is going to hit. I am not even slightly worried about it."
The Tigers lost five of their last eight on a nine-game West Coast trip. The first two defeats were a result of blown saves by former closer Francisco Rodriguez. In their last three losses, they scored a combined two runs.
Detroit did get a boost from J.D. Martinez, who made his season debut on Friday after recovering from a foot injury. He hit two homers on Saturday.
"It's kind of been a team-wide slump, except for J.D. (Saturday) and Justin Upton," Ausmus said to the Detroit News. "We're a much better offensive team than we've showed the last couple of games."
The Orioles got swept in a three-game weekend series at Kansas City, losing each game by one run.
"You run into stretches through a 162-game season, that this type of stuff happens," catcher Caleb Joseph told the Baltimore Sun. "You don't want it to happen very long. We've had a chance in every game."
Slugger Chris Davis perked up offensively in Kansas City, as he homered the last two games of the series and reached base five times on Sunday.
"Really, I started to feel a lot better at the plate in the Chicago (White Sox) series (earlier this month)," he said to the Sun. "I hit a few balls that didn't have much to show for it, but I think overall, my at-bats have felt a lot calmer, a lot more comfortable. Hopefully, I can keep that going."
Baltimore should also get a boost from the return of catcher Welington Castillo (shoulder), who is expected to be activated from the 10-day disabled list on Tuesday.
The pitching matchup features a pair of left-handers -- the Orioles' Wade Miley (1-1, 2.45 ERA) and the Tigers' Matt Boyd (2-3, 3.89 ERA). Miley is 0-0 with a 7.50 ERA in one career appearance against Detroit, while Boyd has never faced Baltimore.
Updated May 15, 2017