The Detroit Tigers go after a seventh straight win this afternoon when they continue a three-game series with the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.
Despite the recent surge, the Tigers are still in third place in the American League Central and trail the Chicago White Sox by 3 1/2 games going into Saturday's games. Detroit stayed just below .500 for much of the first half of the season.
"I've liked our club all along," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "I never got off our club, even when we weren't playing good in the first half. I know it's a good club that's going to play good at some point, and now we've racked up six in a row."
Detroit picked up a 7-2 victory on Friday night in the series opener as starting pitcher Doug Fister gave up just three hits, one run, and struck out eight batters in seven innings of work. Jhonny Peralta homered and drove in three runs, Brennan Boesch drove in two RBI, and Miguel Cabrera contributed a solo homer in the fifth inning to charge the Tigers' offense.
Detroit's third baseman has thrived with Prince Fielder batting behind him in the lineup. Cabrera's performance on Friday gave him his team-best 19th home run and 72nd RBI. Fielder, who went 2-for-5 in Friday's victory, came into the series fresh off winning the Home Run Derby for the second time in his career.
Center fielder Austin Jackson has been very hot as of late. He has improved his batting average to a team best .331 and is currently on a 16-game hitting streak.
Tonight, the Tigers turn to right-hander Max Scherzer. The Tigers' starter finished off the first half off the season by recording his sixth quality start in his past seven games. Scherzer gave up just five hits and one run while striking out seven Kansas City batters in his last outing.
Scherzer is 2-1 in three career starts versus the Orioles in his career.
The Orioles, who have lost 10 of their last 14 games, will send southpaw Wei- Yin Chen to the hill in this one. Chen ended the first half of the season with a 7-5 record and a 3.93 ERA, but he allowed a career-high three home runs in a career-low four innings versus the Angels in his last outing on Sunday.
"Sometimes I pitch good one game, and sometimes I have a horrible game," Chen said through his interpreter after his most recent struggle. "That's one thing I want to learn." The left-hander is 0-3 with a 5.96 ERA in his last four starts.
Baltimore's hope that the All-Star break would cure its slump was not realized on Friday. The O's struck out 10 times and went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position. The first four batters in the lineup went just 1-for-15 with a walk.
A positive note from Friday's loss for Baltimore was the return of its star outfielder Nick Markakis. He went 1-for-4 with an RBI in his first game in the lineup since May 29.
Adam Jones, who leads the Orioles in batting average, home runs, and hits, has gone 6-for-35 at the plate so far in July. The good news for the center fielder is that he is 5-for-9 with two doubles in his career versus Scherzer.
Baltimore is in second place in the American League East and trails the New York Yankees by eight games heading in Saturday.
The Orioles split their 10 games with the Tigers last season.