Detroit Tigers at Minnesota Twins
When and Where: Saturday, May 11, Target Field, Minneapolis, Minn., 2:10 p.m. EDT.
Tigers rookie Spencer Turnbull looks to extend his run of impressive outings Saturday in the first game of Detroit’s day-night doubleheader versus the Minnesota Twins.
Turnbull’s confidence in slider paying off in results
Turnbull (2-2, 2.31 ERA) made three starts and four overall appearances as a September call-up for the Tigers last season, but he has hit the ground running after sticking with the team out of spring training.
Tigers' Spencer Turnbull isn't as hyped as Chris Paddack, but he's putting together a fine rookie season https://t.co/AwMRS11wNQ
— CBS Sports MLB (@CBSSportsMLB) May 9, 2019
The right-hander has given up one or no runs in his last four outings and yet to yield more than three in any of his seven starts in 2019. Turnbull’s bullpen cost him a win Sunday versus Kansas City after he held the Royals to one run in seven innings before Detroit recovered for a 5-2, 10-inning walk-off win.
“I always try to go deep in games,” said Turnbull, who threw a career-high 102 pitches, to the Detroit News. “That’s always one of my goals. Today I was actually able to get into the seventh. It really wasn’t about what happened yesterday.
“I didn’t try to put any extra pressure on it. I mean, it helps, but I’m trying to do that every time I go out there.”
A big key to Turnbull’s effectiveness is his slider, against which hitters are batting a paltry .097 while swinging and missing 40 percent of the time per CBSSports. The righty has yielded two earned runs in his last 24 innings while holding opposing batters to a .167 average in his last four starts.
Turnbull had mixed results in his two starts versus Minnesota last year, giving up seven runs in 10 innings. The better of the two outings came at Target Field on September 25 when he conceded one run in six innings and left before Detroit rallied for a 4-2 victory.
Slumping Pineda out to get back on track for Twins
After winning two of his first three starts, Michael Pineda (2-3, 6.09) is looking to avoid a third consecutive losing start as he takes the ball for the Twins in this doubleheader opener.
The right-hander is winless in four starts, going 0-3 with an 8.53 ERA while opponents are hitting him at a .361 clip. Pineda took a loss against his most recent former team Sunday, yielding four runs and six hits over five innings of a 4-1 defeat to the New York Yankees.
— The Athletic (@TheAthleticMIN) May 6, 2019
Pineda, though, found something to build on after striking out eight in the loss.
“I feel pretty good, especially my slider,” Pineda told The Athletic. “That’s what I tried to work on, to be more consistent with my slider. (Sunday), I improved in the game. My slider was working better, so I feel pretty good for that.”
“My pitches were working a little bit better, and I had a lot of positives.”
Pineda’s most recent win came against Detroit on April 13, yielding three runs and eight hits in six innings of a 4-3 home win to improve to 2-2 with a 4.03 ERA in five lifetime starts versus the Tigers.
Miguel Cabrera has been locked in on Pineda in their matchups, going 6 for 13 with a pair of doubles.
The Tigers are:
- 4-1 in their last five games following a loss.
- 7-2 in their last nine games after scoring two or fewer runs in the previous game.
The Twins are:
- 4-12 in their last 16 opening games of a doubleheader.
- 0-4 in Pineda’s last four starts.