Detroit Tigers (37-40) at Tampa Bay Rays (41-36)
Time/Place: 7:00 p.m., Tropicana Field
SB Nation Blog: DRaysBay
Media: FOX, Tigers Radio Network
Pitching Matchup: Rick Porcello (5-5, 4.71 ERA) vs. Jeremy Hellickson (4-3, 3.45 ERA)
Hellickson hasn't pitched since June 14th due to a shoulder issue. He was shelled in his last start by the New York Mets, who tagged him for 8 runs on 9 hits in 3 2/3 innings. He wasn't particularly efficient in the start before that either, throwing 108 pitches in just 4 1/3 innings against the Miami Marlins.
Hellickson has been fantastic against the Tigers in his short big league career, earning a quality start in each of his three starts against Detroit. The Tigers have won two of those three games though, including both of the games that Hellickson started against them last season.
Despite everyone in the Tigers fanbase (myself included) terrified that he would implode at any point, Porcello was fantastic against the Texas Rangers in his last start. He hasn't put together two starts like this since his first two games of the season, one of which includes a 7 IP, 2 ER performance against these same Rays on April 10th. As good as Porcello has been, I'm more encouraged by the fact that the Tigers have scored 17 runs in his last three starts. I will happily overlook the lone run they scored against the St. Louis Cardinals if they put up another crooked number tonight in support of Kid Rick.
With the struggling Drew Smyly on the hill tomorrow, tonight's game is the Tigers' best opportunity for guaranteeing a series split and a 3-4 road trip. While they were held in check last night by David Price, the offense seems to be perking up away from Comerica Park. If the Tigers can ride that momentum tonight against Hellickson -- who will probably be limited by a pitch count in the 80s -- they have a good shot at picking up their second win of the series.
Hellickson continues his quality start streak against the Tigers tonight.
Rays Drop Tigers 4-2, David Price Leaves With Injury - DRaysBay, Erik Hahmann
"His whiff percentage on the night wasn't very high but it's not going to be when Detriot hitters struck out looking five times. That's likely a combination of Price's stuff and Bob Davidson's wide strikezone."
Rays Pitch Well; Justin Verlander Does Not - Walkoff Woodward, Grey Papke
"Well, he’s not invincible. And sometimes he loses. Like tonight, in which the Rays won 4-2."
Hellickson on target to return against Tigers - MLB.com, Vinnie Duber
"Hellickson said he would probably throw another bullpen on Wednesday. He has been on the disabled list since June 20 with right shoulder inflammation."
The All-Star Break Cannot Come Soon Enough - DRaysBay
"When the month of June started the Rays were tied with the Baltimore Orioles at the top of the AL East with a 29-22 record but have since gone 11-14 in the month of June including four straight losses coming into today."