The first-place Philadelphia Phillies (16-12) welcome in the Detroit Tigers (12-14) of the American League Central Division for a quick two-game set beginning on Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park in South Philly.
The Tigers are currently tied for third place in the AL Central standings, 3.5 games behind the division-leading Minnesota Twins but a full five back in the loss column.
For Phillies fans who make the trip out to the ballpark or tune in via TV or radio over these next couple of nights there will be very few familiar names in the Tigers lineup or on the mound for Detroit. One name, however, will be familiar to even the most casual fan.
That familiar name belongs to future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera. “Miggy” is now in his 17th big-league season and now has 2,704 career hits, 466 home runs, and 1,645 RBIs.
Cabrera was the AL MVP in both 2012 and 2013, and in that 2012 season became the first player in 45 years to win the ‘Triple Crown’ by leading the league in homers, RBIs and batting average in the same year. He has five other Top 5 finishes in the Most Valuable Player voting, including as the 2010 runner-up. Cabrera has won a pair of AL batting titles, is an 11x All-Star, and has seven Silver Slugger Awards to his name.
Against the Phillies over his career, Cabrera has slashed .337/.409/.608 across 92 games and 398 plate appearances. He has 21 homers and 51 extra-base hits against the Phillies. In 38 games at Citizens Bank Park he is slashing .324/.399/.547 with seven home runs. Cabrera has even played in six games at Veteran’s Stadium, where he blasted a pair of home runs.
In their American League games, Cabrera usually serves as the Designated Hitter for the Tigers. However, he has played in the field at first base 10 times already this season, so Phillies fans can expect to see him there in both games this week.
TUESDAY STARTING LINEUPS
- Andrew McCutchen CF
- Jean Segura SS
- Bryce Harper RF
- Rhys Hoskins 1B
- J.T. Realmuto C
- Nick Williams LF
- Cesar Hernandez 2B
- Maikel Franco 3B
- Vince Velasquez P
PHILLIES HOT & COLD
- Shortstop Jean Segura is slashing .347/.405/.514 with eight extra-base hits and 15 runs scored this season over 79 plate appearances. He returned over the weekend from a stint on the 10-day IL and had three hits including a triple, scoring twice in Sunday’s 5-1 win over Miami. The Phillies are 9-4 in games where he has a hit, and just 7-8 when he misses the game or goes hitless.
- First baseman Rhys Hoskins is slashing .333/.435/.667 with three homers, six extra-base hits, and seven RBIs over his last 10 games and 46 plate appearances. He leads the club with eight homers, 23 RBIs, 15 XBH and a .411 OBP.
- Third baseman Maikel Franco has struck out only nine times in his 114 plate appearances thus far and his 7.9% strikeout rate is the third-lowest among all qualified hitters in the major leagues.
- Bryce Harper is still slumping, hitting just .138 with a .306 OBP over his last nine games. However, he has shown signs that he may be coming out of it. Harper had an extra-base hit in three of the four games entering Sunday. He has driven in a run in four of the last five games and has drawn a walk in five straight contests.
- Lefty reliever Adam Morgan has yet to surrender a run this season. Over 10.2 innings across 14 appearances, Morgan has allowed just four hits and has an excellent 12/2 K:BB ratio.
- Righty relievers Hector Neris (2.92 ERA over 12 games) and Pat Neshek (2.45 ERA over 12 games) have also been effective when called upon by manager Gabe Kapler.
- Righty reliever Edubray Ramos had one poor outing. Aside from that he has allowed just one earned run with a 5/1 K:BB over his other six outings.
- After a lengthy hot streak at the plate, second baseman Cesar Hernandez has cooled considerably. He is slashing just .250/.318/.300 over his last five games during which he has committed a number of defensive gaffes, not all of which resulted in an error being charged. He already has four errors charged against him this season.
- Jeimer Candelario 3B
- Nick Castellanos RF
- Miguel Cabrera 1B
- Niko Goodrum LF
- Ronny Rodriguez 2B
- Grayson Greiner C
- Jordy Mercer SS
- JaCoby Jones CF
- Spencer Turnbull P
TIGERS HOT & COLD
- 29-year-old John Hicks is in this fifth big-league season. He splits time between first base and catcher, and has hit well this season for manager Ron Gardenhire‘s club. Red-hot at the moment, Hicks is slashing .615/.688/769 over his last four games, though without much production. He has just one RBI and no runs scored in that time.
- Cabrera had a four-hit game this past Friday night in Chicago against the host White Sox with a home run. That was his first round-tripper of the season. The veteran has hit much better over the last two weeks or so after a slow start, batting .308 in his last 16 games.
- 27-year-old Nick Castellanos is a pending free agent who has been a very productive player over the last two seasons for Detroit. This season, Castellanos is leading the club with 14 runs scored, but has otherwise been a disappointment.
- Closer Shane Greene has been strong at the end of games for the Tigers. He has 11 saves already with a 1.38 ERA and 0.615 WHIP, striking out 14 and walking just three over 13 games and 13 IP.
SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP
- Vince Velasquez: 1-0, 1.99 ERA, 1.015 WHIP, 16 hits allowed over 22.2 IP across five games (four starts) with a 22/7 K:BB
- Velasquez can be counted on to give the Phillies between 5-6 innings, so the bullpen is likely to see plenty of action on Tuesday night. In his last outing the righty went five shutout frames against the Mets, allowing just three hits with six strikeouts.
- Among all major league pitchers with 20 or more innings pitched, only two have allowed fewer hits than Velasquez.
- He has faced Detroit just once, back on May 23, 2016. Only lasted four innings, allowing nine hits including three home runs, in a 5-4 loss at Tiger Stadium. Two of the blasts came off the bat of future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera.
- Spencer Turnbull: 1-2, 2.77 ERA, 1.308 WHIP, 23 hits allowed over 26 IP across five starts with a 26/11 K:BB
- The 26-year-old Turnbull is a right-hander selected by the Tigers in the second round of the 2014 MLB Draft out of the University of Alabama. Received a four-game, three-start cup of coffee last September and has never faced the Phillies.
- In his last outing exactly one week ago at Fenway Park, Turnbull earned his first win of the season in a 4-2 decision over the Boston Red Sox. He went five shutout innings allowing just three hits while walking four and striking out two. He has not allowed an earned run over his last two starts spanning 11 innings.
PHILLIES NUGGETS PREGAME NOTES
- With a dozen wins last season, the Phillies set a franchise record for victories during a season in Inter-league play. They already have two this season against Minnesota.
- The Phillies and Tigers have met for only six series over their long histories, with Detroit winning 11 of the 18 previous games. The Tigers had won six in a row in the series before the Phillies took the last match-up back in May 2016 behind Aaron Nola at Comerica Park in Detroit.
- Cabrera has homered twice during his career against Velasquez, the only player on either team who has gone deep against either opposing pitcher. None of the Phillies players have ever faced Turnbull prior to this match-up.
- Prior to the game the Tigers placed veteran infielder Josh Harrison in the Injured List.
- The Tigers offense ranks just 28th in Runs scored and 25th in OPS among the 30 teams in Major League Baseball.
- The Detroit pitching staff doesn’t usually dominate, ranking just 27th in MLB in strikeouts.
- The Phillies have blasted 38 home runs through 28 games, their most before May since 2008 when they had a franchise-record 41 home runs in March/April. Tonight is the final game of April
- Phillies Charities, Inc. has announced the items available at the 2019 Phantastic Auction, a 12-day charity auction that will launch on May 6 at the Phillies.com website. Check the link at start of this entry for details.
TUESDAY PROGRAMMING INFORMATION
- Tuesday April 28 at 7:05 pm vs. the Detroit Tigers at Citizens Bank Park
- This will be a Hatfield Phillies Franks Dollar Dog Night: regular hot dogs just $1
- TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
- Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP, WTTM 1680 (Spanish)
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- Larry Shenk’s Phillies Minor League Report: 4/30/19
- Matt Veasey’s NL East Beat: Week of 4/22-28
- Phillies have gotten next-to-nothing from their outfield depth
- Zach Eflin complete game gives Phillies series win over Marlins