Matt Andriese has delivered a pair of sublime performances since being called up, including a two-hitter in his latest start, but he doesn't consider himself a lock in the Tampa Bay Rays rotation.
Andriese looks to further his cause Friday night while denying the Detroit Tigers a season high-tying fifth consecutive win. His teammates, meanwhile, will attempt to give him plenty of support after slugging their way to a three-game sweep to open their road trip.
Andriese is 2-0 with a 0.56 ERA since being called up from the minors May 8 and earned a 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels that same day. He followed with a 6-0 victory against Oakland on Saturday, his first career shutout.
Andriese allowed just three baserunners, hitting a batter in the third inning, while fanning five.
"You never take that (rotation spot) for granted. I felt like every day I'm fighting for myself," he said. "Today helped me build on that and I'm pretty excited about the outing."
In his first start against Detroit, Andriese is hoping for the same backing that Tampa Bay gave to Drew Smyly, Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi in Toronto. The Rays (19-19) totaled 31 runs and 44 hits, a team record in a three-game series, versus the Blue Jays.
Tampa Bay also registered 20 extra-base hits and eight homers north of the border. The Rays had three longballs in a 6-3 victory Wednesday, giving them an MLB-best 58 after that game.
"We're all clicking on all cylinders," said outfielder Kevin Kiermaier, who had a two-run shot while extending his hit streak to seven games. "It's a fun time to be a Ray right now and I love it."
The Tigers (19-21) have totaled 29 runs and 50 hits in their four consecutive wins after scoring 35 runs while dropping 11 of 12. Ian Kinsler homered for a career-high fourth consecutive game Wednesday and went 3 for 4 as Detroit completed a three-game sweep of visiting Minnesota.
J.D. Martinez tripled and drove in a run after hitting home runs in three straight contests.
"Feels a lot better than a week ago," manager Brad Ausmus told MLB's official website. "Previously, it was always one part of our game that was hurting us or beating us - bullpen one day, starting pitching one day, the offense one day. Now we're getting those things to work together."
Anibal Sanchez (3-4, 5.91 ERA) will seek to end a three-game winless stretch in his first home start since a 7-3 victory over Oakland on April 28. He dropped to 0-2 with a 5.68 ERA this month by giving up four runs in six innings in a 9-3 loss to Baltimore on Saturday.
Sanchez is 0-2 with an 8.18 ERA in his last two starts against Tampa Bay, but much of that damage came from a 7-2 loss in July 2014. He gave up three runs in 5 1/3 innings in his lone matchup last season, a 5-2 road defeat July 27.
Evan Longoria, batting .379 in his last seven games, has three hits in his last seven at-bats against the right-hander and a .410 average in his past 11 games in Detroit.
Kinsler, hitting .464 in his last seven games, is batting .186 with no homers in his last 10 against Tampa Bay. Martinez is hitting .148 with one longball in his past seven matchups.
The Rays and Tigers split their six games last season, with Detroit taking two of three at home Sept. 7-9.