Cole Hamels would like to avoid tying for the major league lead in losses, though that could prove difficult if the Detroit Tigers get two of their top sluggers back.
The Tigers hope to have Miguel Cabrera and Torii Hunter in the lineup and hand Hamels his 13th defeat Friday night when the Philadelphia Phillies visit Detroit for the first time in 11 years.Playing for a third straight game without Cabrera because of an injured left hip flexor, the AL Central-leading Tigers (56-45) had their four-game winning streak snapped in Thursday's 7-4 road loss to the White Sox that also prevented a four-game road sweep.While manager Jim Leyland said the 2012 AL MVP was improving, he didn't say whether Cabrera would play against the Phillies. Cabrera is batting .441 with six home runs and 14 RBIs in his last 16 games at Comerica Park."I'm not going to do anything stupid," Leyland said. "Just have to wait and see how he comes in tomorrow."That's also likely to be the case with Hunter, who had three homers at Chicago before exiting in the eighth inning Thursday with a sore Achilles. The right fielder blamed the soreness on a pair of dress shoes that were too tight.Detroit could also be getting back second baseman Omar Infante following an 18-game absence due to a sprained left ankle.The news isn't as promising for a reeling Philadelphia team that will be without one of its All-Stars after placing Domonic Brown on the seven-day concussion list Thursday. Brown, who has a team-leading 24 homers and 69 RBIs, hit his head on the ground diving for Carlos Beltran's triple in the seventh inning of Tuesday's 4-1 loss at St. Louis.The injury comes at a time when the Phillies have totaled nine runs in a season high-tying five-game skid."At times, we have trouble putting anything on the board," said manager Charlie Manuel following Thursday's 3-1 loss to the Cardinals.Manuel's club had won four straight with Hamels (4-12, 4.16 ERA) on the mound before losing 5-4 at Citi Field on Saturday. The left-hander allowed four runs and seven hits over five innings against the Mets.He had gone 2-0 with a 1.57 ERA in his previous three outings.Although he's never faced the Tigers, Hamels is 3-4 with a 5.77 ERA in nine road interleague starts.Infante is 4 for 21 with a homer when facing Hamels the past three seasons, while slugger Prince Fielder has gone 7 for 17 with two homers and four RBIs against him since 2008.Even with all their injuries, the Tigers hit eight homers and plated 23 runs in their last four games.They'll try to continue that production for Doug Fister (8-5, 3.90), who seeks his third straight win after giving up three runs over 12 innings in his last two. The right-hander yielded one run and six hits over six innings in a 4-1 win at Kansas City on Sunday."The biggest focus was to get the ball down and around the knees," said Fister, who faces the Phillies for the first time. "We executed with that on the better side and that's going to continue to be our focus."This is the first meeting in Detroit since 2002, when the Phillies swept a three-game series.
Doug Fister has induced a swing on 32 percent of his fastballs out of the zone, best in the AL among qualified starters. Phillies hitters have chased on 26 percent of fastballs out of the strike zone, the fifth-worst rate in the league.
Doug Fister went eight innings without allowing an earned run Friday, the first time this season and sixth time in his career he's gone at least eight innings without allowing an earned run.