Stabilized Tigers attempt to fix road woes
The Tigers, thanks to a stabilized pitching staff and an offense sparked by the addition of Cameron Maybin, appear to have weathered the storm.
Once 81/2 games out of first place after losing 11 of 12 games last month, they’re 21/2 games out of the American League Central lead.
“Now we need a good road trip,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said.
The Tigers play three games against the Yankees, followed by three against the White Sox, and four against the Royals. Detroit hasn’t won a trip this season outside of a 2-0 start in Miami.
The Tigers are on a 4-12 skid away from Comerica Park.
There is good news, though, with the expected return of Maybin after missing the last two games with an achy left wrist.
There’s also this: The teams the Tigers play have some serious issues.
■The Yankees, even though they’ve played better lately, are still under .500, their aging roster catching up to them.
■The White Sox, swept by the Tigers at Comerica Park last week, had lost five in a row entering Thursday, and haven’t won a series since May 6-8.
■The Royals aren’t exactly playing like the defending World Series champions. They’ve lost seven in a row, aren’t scoring, will be without Mike Moustakas (torn ACL) for the rest of the year, and still are without Alex Gordon (wrist).
The Tigers also should miss Yordano Ventura, who could be suspended after his brawl with Orioles slugger Manny Machado.
Former Tigers manager Jim Leyland was famous for saying, “It’s not who you play, it’s when you play them.”
And the Tigers seem to be getting these opponents at just the right time.
Rookie of the year watch
Tigers right-hander Michael Fulmer, who hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last 221/3 innings, is on American League rookie of the year watch.
Fulmer, acquired in last July’s trade of Yoenis Cespedes to the Mets, has exceeded just about everyone’s expectations.
Overall, he’s 6-1 with a 2.83 ERA in eight starts, and in his last four, he’s allowed four, three, two and two hits, with a 0.32 ERA.
Chief among his competition is Rangers outfielder Nomar Mazara, with 10 homers, 27 RBIs and an .865 OPS. A dark horse could be A’s reliever Ryan Dull, who’s sporting a 0.88 WHIP.
Others to watch include Twins first baseman Byung Ho Park and Indians outfielder Tyler Naquin.
On deck: Yankees
Series: Three games, today-Sunday, Yankee Stadium, New York
First pitch: 7:05 tonight, 7:15 p.m. Saturday, 2:05 p.m. Sunday
TV/radio: FSD tonight and Sunday, Fox on Saturday/97.1
Series probables: Tonight — RHP Mike Pelfrey (1-5, 4.76) vs. LHP CC Sabathia (3-4, 2.58). Saturday — RHP Justin Verlander (5-5, 3.97) vs. RHP Masahiro Tanaka (3-1, 2.76). Sunday — RHP Michael Fulmer (6-1, 2.83) vs. RHP Michael Pineda (3-6, 6.14)