Headed into the Memorial Day holiday weekend, the Tigers were feeling anything but celebratory following a three-game sweep at the hands of the Cleveland Indians to start a 10-game road trip.
The three-game bounce out of Cleveland fueled an offensive display that Tigers fans have been waiting for since their Opening Day sweep of the Boston Red Sox—kick-starting a two-week start out of the gate and going 9-3 in their first 12 games.
Detroit will now head to Boston for their first trip to Fenway Park this season. With the White Sox's sweep of Cleveland, the Tigers—who entered the weekend back six games as the result of their futility earlier in the week against the Indians—are just three games back again with a chance to gain ground if they stay hot in Boston.
While Detroit continues to struggle with getting key hits at times, leaving 11 runners on base and going 3-10 with runners in scoring position today, they pounded out 40 hits in their three-game sweep of the Twins.
Today's win gave the Tigers their third streak of the season of three straight wins or more. Two wins to start a four-game series out east, and they'll have their longest streak of the season.
Detroit will be headed into a bit of a hornet's nest after the Red Sox were bounced by the Tampa Bay Rays in a top-of-the-ninth homer from Sean Rodriguez.
While the Rays were celebrating their late-inning road win, Detroit's Miguel Cabrera was providing the same spark for his team in the Twin Cities, jacking a two-run shot in the top of the ninth off of Twins closer Matt Capps.
The two-run homer gave Cabrera three RBI on the day and pushed the Tigers past Minnesota, earning Capps a blown save and his third loss of the season.
Detroit's offense also got a boost from Prince Fielder who gathered nine hits in the three-game series and raised his average 31 points over the weekend. Andy Dirks also continued his consistent offensive presence in the No. 2 spot, knocking two hits on the day.
Also of positive note for the Tigers is the strong performance by Detroit's newest rookie, Quintin Berry, who is raking at a .381 clip and six hits over the weekend. Berry also continued to show manager Jim Leyland that he can be trusted to make something happen on the bases, stealing two bases on the day to go with his three hits.
Detroit starter Rick Porcello went six innings, giving up three runs on nine hits with three walks and two strikeouts. Porcello wasn't all that sharp but did enough to keep Detroit in the game, while the Twins' P.J. Walters kept the Tigers in check for the most part, allowing just two runs in seven innings of work.
Outside of the hot bats Detroit has in tow headed to Boston, the Tigers can also take comfort in knowing their three best will face Boston in the lengthy series.
Doug Fister, who has yet to earn a win mostly due to a lack of run support in his four starts this season, carries an excellent 1.84 ERA and will face Boston's Felix Doubront, who is coming off a loss last Tuesday against the Orioles, although he struck out a career-high nine batters.
Tuesday's tilt will see Tigers ace Justin Verlander go for his first win at Fenway since 2009. Verlander will be looking to bounce back after he suffered his second loss of the season in a gutty eight-inning complete-game performance against Cleveland last week. Boston will offer up 4-5 Daniel Bard, who is currently struggling over his last five starts, going 2-3 and walking more hitters than he is striking out.
Max Scherzer will look to continue his successful climb in the series finale after fighting an early-season struggle to throw consistently. He's had four quality starts in his last five games and will face the Red Sox's Josh Beckett, who is 4-4 with a 4.15 ERA in a matchup of two of the American League's hardest throwers.
Boston will also see Detroit rookie Drew Smyly, who earned his second career victory with a 10-6 win over the Twins to start this weekend's series in Minnesota. Smyly will match up with Boston's Jon Lester, who was knocked around for seven runs in four innings in Friday night's outing against the Rays. Tampa Bay knocked him for three home runs, upping his season ERA to 4.72.
Detroit's offense needs to continue their good offensive stretch and kick it into overdrive if they want to continue their winning ways against the BoSox—churning out double-digit hitting stats on a game-to-game is the best medicine for the anemic numbers they've been putting up on the scoreboard over the past month.
Game stats provided by mlb.com.
Probable pitching outlook data provided by detroittigers.com.
Bleacher Report Featured Columnist J. Cook is a member of B/R's MLB Coverage Team and contributes to B/R's MLB content and Detroit Tigers page. He also covers key sport interest stories for all of Detroit's major sports teams.
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