When Miguel Cabrera hasn’t been stealing the spotlight, the Detroit Tigers’ starting pitching has. Following Friday’s one-hitter from Anibal Sanchez, Doug Fister will look to continue that trend Saturday as the Tigers resume their four-game home set against the Minnesota Twins. Cabrera has at least two RBIs in five straight games, but Max Scherzer and Sanchez have easily held up their end by bookending Detroit’s four-game winning streak with dominant pitching performances.
Perhaps the only highlight of the Twins’ 10-game losing streak was Joe Mauer’s ability to break up Sanchez’s no-hit bid with one out in the ninth. Minnesota is in the midst of its longest slide since September 2011, getting outscored 64-28 over that span. While the pitching deserves its share of the blame (league-high 5.55 ERA in May), manager Ron Gardenhire had little choice but to start four hitters batting .212 or worse this season prior to Friday’s loss.
TV: 4:08 p.m. ET, Fox Sports North (Minnesota), Fox Sports Detroit
PITCHING MATCHUP: Twins RH P.J. Walters (2012: 2-5, 5.69 ERA) vs. Tigers RH Doug Fister (5-1, 3.62)
Walters will make his season debut against the Tigers on Saturday, when he is expected to be recalled from Triple-A Rochester. The right-hander has posted a 4-2 record with a 3.31 ERA and 46 strikeouts over 54 1/3 innings in nine minor-league starts this season. Walters, who allowed two runs and four hits over five innings in a 6-4 loss to Detroit in his last major-league start on Sept. 29, is 1-1 with a 3.09 ERA in four career starts against the Tigers.
Fister suffered his first non-quality start of the season in Sunday’s 11-8 loss at Texas after surrendering season highs in runs (five) and hits (nine) over a season-low 4 2/3 innings in a no-decision. He has struggled in May (1-1 with a 5.66 ERA in four starts this month) after closing April with a 4-0 record and a 2.38 ERA. Fister notched his only career shutout the last time he faced the Twins in September, but is only 3-6 with a 3.13 ERA in nine starts against Minnesota.
1. Cabrera is one game shy of matching Rudy York's team record of six straight multiple-RBI games in 1940.
2. Mauer has broken up three no-hit bids in the ninth inning in his career.
3. The Tigers are 22-4 when scoring five or more runs, but only 5-15 when they score four or fewer.
PREDICTION: Tigers 7, Twins 3