The Detroit Tigers have played their last 14 interleague games on the road, and the results have been less than ideal. Ending the trip on a positive note may give them some confidence before heading home.
Detroit attempts to avoid a three-game sweep Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are seeking a season-high fourth straight win.
The Tigers (39-35) have dropped four of five games after falling 6-1 against the Dodgers on Tuesday. They’ve dropped 10 of 14 interleague matchups dating back to last season, and they’ve scored one run in back-to-back losses in this series.
Detroit will play Arizona at home on Friday to end a 15-game interleague road stretch.
Victor Martinez drove in the Tigers’ lone run and stayed hot by going 2 for 4. Martinez, who had his nine-game hitting streak snapped Monday, is hitting .439 with 10 RBIs over his last 11 games.
The rest of the Tigers will try to turn things around against Ted Lilly (5-6, 4.26 ERA), who hasn’t had a great deal of success against Detroit in his career.
The veteran left-hander, who pitched in the AL with three teams from 2000-2006, is 2-4 with a 4.57 ERA in seven career starts against the Tigers. He fell 6-5 after allowing six runs and 10 hits in six innings June 25, 2009, in his most recent start against them.
Lilly is coming off a rough outing Friday, giving up a season-high six runs in 5 1-3 innings as the Dodgers (34-41) fell to Houston. He’ll look to bounce back for a Dodgers pitching staff which allowed its first run in 22 innings on Martinez’s fourth-inning RBI single to deny it a third straight shutout.
Meanwhile, Tigers scheduled starter Rick Porcello (6-5, 4.18) hasn’t pitched nearly as well of late. He’s lost two straight starts after allowing a career-high nine runs in three innings Friday against Colorado.
The right-hander has given up 12 runs over 10 innings in the back-to-back defeats after going 5-1 with a 3.03 ERA in his previous six outings. However, Porcello beat Los Angeles in interleague play May 23, 2010, allowing two runs over six innings.
He’ll face a lineup led by Matt Kemp, who joined Davey Lopes as the only Dodgers with 20 homers and 20 stolen bases before the All-Star break since the team relocated from Brooklyn before the 1958 season.
Kemp had two steals in the seventh inning after reaching on a walk. He went 0 for 3 and dropped to 1 for 14 over his last five games, but he’s still hitting .321 – tied for third in the NL.
“We were pretty aggressive tonight,” Kemp said. “We came out swinging. He was trying to get that first strike with fastballs, but he was missing his spots and a lot of the guys were taking advantage of his mistakes and putting good swings on the ball.”
Andre Ethier hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland didn’t start Miguel Cabrera on Tuesday despite a .324 batting average. He was used as a pinch hitter for the first time since June 5, 2009, and grounded into a double play.
Cabrera is expected to be in the lineup Tuesday.
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