Two of MLB’s least productive lineups are set to square off at Comerica Park on Tuesday as the Oakland Athletics (23-63) are on the road to face the Detroit Tigers (37-46) for the opener of a three-game series.
The Athletics are kicking off a six-game road trip after closing out a six-game homestand (3-3). They won two out of three in their last series against the White Sox, dropping the finale 8-7 on Sunday at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
JJ Bleday was 2 for 4 with two doubles, one run, and two RBIs. Brent Rooker added a home run and two RBIs. The Tigers are back home for a six-game homestand after finishing up a seven-game road trip (4-3).
They won two of three against the Rockies in their last series, taking the finale 14-9 on Sunday at Coors Field. Spencer Torkelson went 2 for 3 with a home run and a double.
He scored three runs and had two RBIs. Kerry Carpenter added a home run, two runs, and three RBIs. The teams are meeting for the first time this season.
In 2022, the Athletics won five of the seven games between the teams, although they split their most recent two-game series at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in July.
ON THE MOUND
JP Sears (1-6, 4.43 ERA) is slated for the start for Oakland. The left-hander allowed seven runs (five earned) over four innings in his last start, an 11-0 road defeat against the Yankees on Wednesday.
He was charged with the loss, giving up five hits while striking out five and walking three. For Detroit, LHP Tarik Skubal gets the ball, his season debut. He was 7-8 over 21 starts last season with an ERA of 3.52.
He struck out 117 and walked 32 over 117.2 innings. Skubal made two appearances against the Athletics in 2022, both starts, striking out 14 and walking five over 13 innings (2-0, 0.00).
AT THE PLATE
The Oakland offense is averaging 3.6 runs per game for the season, the lowest in MLB, with a slash line of .221/.301/.352. Rooker leads the team in OPS at .816. The left fielder is slashing .243/.339/.477 with 14 home runs, 41 RBIs, and 30 runs over 72 games.
Over the last five games, however, Oakland has averaged 5.0 runs a game partially thanks to improved slugging (.383). Against lefties like Skubal this season, the A’s have a .678 OPS, the fifth lowest in the league. Rooker also is the team’s most potent producer against left-handers with a .931 OPS in 70 at-bats.
Detroit is slashing .231/.301/.370 for the season and averaging 3.9 runs per game, the third lowest in the league. Zach McKinstry leads the team with a .716 OPS.
The second baseman has six home runs, 22 RBIs, and 34 runs scored with a slash line of .251/.335/.381. Detroit is averaging 6.6 runs per game in the last five with a higher slash line (.254/.304/.486).
The Tigers have a .711 OPS against left-handers in 2023. With a .816 OPS over 66 at-bats, Torkelson has been their best hitter against left-handers.
HOME AND AWAY
Oakland is 11-31 away from home in 2023, scoring 3.9 runs per game while allowing 6.7 runs. Detroit has gone 18-21 at their home park this season, averaging 4.1 runs per game while surrendering 5.1. In the last 10 meetings at Comerica Park, Oakland is 8-2 with an average scoreline of 5.4-3.1.
The Athletics are fifth in the AL West, 28 games behind the division-leading Rangers. The Tigers are third in the AL Central, four games behind the Twins.
SportsTips’ MLB Pick:
Detroit Tigers (-165)
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*Odds correct at time of publication, courtesy of BetMGM.