What can Spencer Turnbull do for encore?
The Detroit Tigers pitcher has a tough act to follow — his own — after a history-making start in his last outing.
Against Seattle on Tuesday, Turnbull became the sixth pitcher in franchise history to throw a no-hitter when he dominated the Mariners in a 5-0 Detroit win.
Turnbull will try to keep up that momentum Monday when he and the Tigers face Cleveland in the opener of a four-game series in Detroit.
Turnbull has yet to face Cleveland this season, but the Indians know they will have to contend with a pitcher who is blossoming into a force in the American League and a potential trade candidate to a contending club this summer.
Turnbull enters with a 3-2 record, a 2.88 earned-run average and a WHIP of .96.
After a horrific start, the Tigers have been an improved club of late, going 9-4 in their last 13 games. The begin this series, however, on a losing streak, having dropped the final two games of a three-game series at Kansas City over the weekend, including 3-2 on Sunday.
The Tigers left a total of 20 runners on base in those two losses and lost Sunday’s game on a 2-run walk-off home run in the ninth inning by Carlos Santana of Kansas City.
“We hate losing,” Tigers manager AJ Hinch said. “We had a chance to win and we didn’t win. It’s not fun, but we are going to be OK. We are going to show up (Monday) ready to play. But these are tough losses when you get walked off.”
With its stretch of winning, Detroit has at least climbed out of the cellar of the American League Central Division.
The Tigers enter Monday a game ahead of Minnesota in fourth place in the division standings.
Cleveland enters after having lost two out of three games at home to last-place Minnesota.
The Indians fell 8-5 in 10 innings on Sunday.
“We had some really good opportunities to add on today or extend the lead early, and we just didn’t do it,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said.
Despite losing the series to Minnesota, the Indians are still on the heels of first-place Chicago in the A.L. Central, 1 1/2 games out.
Opposing Turnbull for the Indians will be left-hander Sam Hentges (1-1, 6.46 ERA), who will be making his third start of the season.
Hentges struggled in his last start against the Los Angeles Angels, allowing five hits and six runs in 1 2/3 innings.
Hentges has not pitched against Detroit this season.
This will be the third series of the season between the two division rivals.
Detroit won two out of three games at home to open the season, but the Indians answered by sweeping a three-game series in Cleveland back in April.
–Field Level Media