A pair of teams that have been looking toward next year for several weeks meet Monday in Detroit, where the Tigers host the Oakland Athletics in the first of three games. The Tigers have been seeking positive signs for their future as they play out the string and they received several Sunday in a 12-0 win over the Chicago White Sox.
Lefty Matt Boyd came within an out of a no-hitter before settling for a one-hit shutout and Jeimer Candelario and Nick Castellanos - two of the team’s young bats - had four RBIs apiece. Detroit split the four-game series and remains two games up on the White Sox as they battle it out for the consolation prize of not finishing last in the American League Central. The Athletics are all but assured of that fate in the West, although they’ve won eight of 11 after a 6-3 win in Philadelphia on Sunday. Oakland gives the ball to Jharel Cotton in the opener at Comerica Park opposite fellow right-hander Buck Farmer.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, NBCSN California (Oakland), FSN Detroit
PITCHING MATCHUP: Athletics RH Jharel Cotton (8-10, 5.81 ERA) vs. Tigers RH Buck Farmer (4-3, 6.62)
Cotton is 3-0 with a 5.74 ERA in his last five starts after defeating the Boston Red Sox with five innings of three-run ball his last time out. That outing left the 25-year-old with a 3.94 mark in 11 road outings, nearly half his ERA at home (7.52). Cotton will be facing the Tigers for the first time.
Farmer gave up four runs and four hits with three walks in four innings at Cleveland on Wednesday but he did manage seven strikeouts and has 38 in 35 1/3 innings on the season. The Georgia Tech product has struggled mightily at Comerica Park with 18 runs allowed over 7 2/3 innings in his last three home starts. Matt Joyce is 2-for-3 with a home run and a walk against Farmer, who is making his first career start versus Oakland.
1. Oakland 1B Matt Olson has homered in three straight games and in six of the last eight.
2. Castellanos has hit safely in 14 straight games and driven in four runs three times during the streak.
3. Athletics LF Khris Davis (paternity leave) has missed the last four games but is expected to rejoin the team Monday.
PREDICTION: Tigers 6, Athletics 5