July has been a streaky month for the Detroit Tigers, who open a three-game series with the Minnesota Twins on Monday night in Minneapolis.
Detroit will bring a seven-game road losing streak into the opener, a streak that began with a four-game series sweep by the Twins entering the All-Star break. The Tigers then went on a seven-game home winning streak after the break that began with a three-game sweep of Minnesota followed by a four-game sweep of Texas.
But Detroit, which is 19-32 on the road this season, returns to Minneapolis after getting swept in three games by the Royals in Kansas City over the weekend to stretch their road losing streak to seven in a row.
Tigers manager A.J. Hinch wasn't exactly thrilled when the topic of his team's road woes was brought up following a 6-1 loss to the Royals in steamy Kansas City on Sunday afternoon.
"I think you know what I think about streaks," Hinch said. "I think we try to win today's game. I really didn't even think about the (Minnesota) series before the (All-Star) break. I just wanted to win today's game.
"Obviously we have another opportunity on the road tomorrow. I don't look into that stuff. I look into how we can beat the next day's starter. We've got (right-hander Michael) Pineda tomorrow so we'll get into that regardless whether we're playing in Detroit or Minnesota."
Pineda (4-5, 3.93 ERA), the object of some trade speculation heading into Friday's trade deadline, will start for Minnesota while rookie right-hander Matt Manning (2-3, 5.79) gets the nod for Detroit.
Pineda is 4-2 with a 3.91 ERA in nine career starts against Detroit but will be facing the Tigers for the first time this season.
Manning, the ninth overall pick of the 2016 Major League Draft, will be making just his seventh career start but second against the Twins. He was impressive in his first one despite getting the loss on July 9 at Target Field, throwing 4 1/3 no-hit innings before allowing a single to Max Kepler, and allowed two runs on two hits over five-plus innings. He walked three and struck out three.
The game was still tied, 0-0, in the bottom of the sixth when Manning departed after allowing a leadoff single to Luis Arraez and a walk to Josh Donaldson. But the Twins would go on to score four runs in the inning highlighted by a two-run triple by Kepler off reliever Ian Krol.
Minnesota fell to 3-8 after the All-Star break with a 6-2 loss to the visiting Los Angeles Angels on Sunday afternoon, dropping three of four games in the process.
Things started well for the Twins, who took a 2-0 lead in the first when Kepler and Brent Rooker clubbed back-to-back solo home runs off Jaime Barria, who was making his first start of the season. But Minnesota managed just two singles the rest of the way, one of them an infield hit by Jake Cave.
"I think we probably lost a little focus as the game went on in the middle innings and didn't have the kind of at-bats that we aspire to," said Twins manager Rocco Baldelli. "We probably could have done a better job against Barria than what we actually turned out on the field today.
"It started well but you're not going to usually win too many games hitting solo home runs. You need to battle and get some guys on base, hit some balls hard around the field."
--Field Level Media