(SportsNetwork.com) – The Detroit Tigers eye another shutout, as well as a
three-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins on Thursday when the American League
Central rivals close out their season-opening set from Comerica Park.
For first time in franchise history the Tigers have opened a season with
consecutive shutouts, outscoring the Twins, 15-0, in the process. In fact,
Detroit’s staff has been so dominant, its yet to allow a Twins runner past
Should it hold the Twins off the scoreboard again, Detroit would be the first
team to open a year with three shutouts since the 1963 St. Louis Cardinals.
The Tigers also haven’t registered three consecutive shutouts in one season
since 1949 but currently have three in a row across two seasons, all against
Detroit beat Minnesota 3-0 in last year’s finale.
Hoping for more of the same, the Tigers will hand the ball to righty Shane
Greene, who was acquired from the New York Yankees this past winter. Greene
surprised in his time in the Bronx last season, going 5-4 with a 3.78 ERA in
15 games (14 starts).
The 26-year-old sinkerballer must have made an impression on the Tigers, as he
beat them twice in 2014 and allowed just two runs in 15 innings against them.
Minnesota, meanwhile, will counter with righty Kyle Gibson, who will be trying
to build upon his first full season in the majors. Gibson made 31 starts a
year ago for the Twins, but was inconsistent, as he went 13-12 with a 4.47
ERA. However, he had a 1.42 ERA in his 13 wins and an 11.04 ERA in his 12
He has made five starts against the Tigers and is 2-3 with a 6.00 ERA in those
After blanking Minnesota on Opening Day, Detroit again rocked the Twins on
Wednesday, as Anibal Sanchez tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings and Ian
Kinsler drove in four runs in an 11-0 rout.
Sanchez (1-0) allowed just three hits, struck out six and walked two to follow
up David Price’s 8 2/3 scoreless effort from Opening Day.
Jose Iglesias followed his 2-for-3 performance on Monday by going 4-for-4 for
the first time in his career. Iglesias also scored three runs.
The Twins have managed just nine hits and have struck out 15 times through 18
innings this season with only one extra-base hit, a sixth-inning double by
Jordan Schafer on Wednesday.
After the worst season of his career, Minnesota starter Ricky Nolasco (0-1)
picked up right where he left off, allowing six runs and six hits with four
walks in just three innings of work.
Minnesota hasn’t ben blanked three straight times in one season since 1978 and
will try to avoid its worst start since losing a team record-tying four in a
row to begin 2012.
“We believe in these guys, but you come out the first couple days and get 18
zeros and I’m sure it’s a bit frustrating,” first-year manager Paul Molitor
said. “You hope the guys with some experience are smart enough to realize it’s
just a small sample size of the season.”
The Twins won 10 of their 19 matchups with the Tigers last season.