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Detroit Tigers rebuilding while Boston Red Sox march toward postseason

By
Dana Gauruder, The Sports Xchange
Detroit Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias celebrates with teammates after scoring against the Chicago White Sox in the fourth inning on April 5 at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago. Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/UPI
Detroit Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias celebrates with teammates after scoring against the Chicago White Sox in the fourth inning on April 5 at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago. Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/UPI | License Photo

The Detroit Tigers would like to add a few more pieces to their farm system before the end of the season. The Boston Red Sox want to keep adding victories the rest of the way and win the American League Eastern Division.

Whether rebuilding Detroit can accomplish its goal remains to be seen. The Red Sox took care of business on Friday night, winning their first post-All-Star break contest with a 1-0 victory at Comerica Park.

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The second game of the series takes place on Saturday night.

Another quality start by Mike Fiers can help the Tigers move him to a contender. Fiers (6-6, 3.70 ERA) enhanced his trade value with four consecutive quality starts prior to the All-Star break.

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During that stretch, Fiers gave up a six earned runs in 27 innings, walked three and struck out 18. Fiers, 33, was signed to a one-year contract as a stopgap who might be flipped for a prospect. He could serve as a No. 4 or 5 starter on a team with playoff aspirations.

He's 1-0 with a 2.76 ERA in three career outings against the Red Sox.

The Tigers would like to sell off multiple parts prior to the nonwaiver trade deadline. That has created a lot of uncertainty in the clubhouse.

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"With our ball club, something could happen. But I just go about my business and keep working hard," manager Ron Gardenhire told the Detroit News. "I told all of these guys you just can't worry about that. You just have to do your thing."

Detroit hasn't been doing much of anything offensively other than leaving runners on base and striking out. Tigers batters have struck out 239 times over the last 26 games, including 11 on Friday. They also left nine runners on base against four Boston pitchers.

"I haven't been through it offensively like this," Gardenhire told the News. "We strike out a lot. It's just young hitters, and we've been facing good teams in this last stretch. We knew it was going to be difficult."

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Left-hander Brian Johnson (1-2, 4.20 ERA) will oppose Fiers. He's been thrust into the rotation due to injuries to Steven Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez.

Johnson has made starts in his last three outings but hasn't gone long enough to be eligible for a victory. He lasted 4 2/3 innings against Toronto in his last outing and allowed just two runs on two hits but also issued a season-high four walks.

He's made two career appearances against Detroit, going 0-0 with a 4.32 ERA.

Whether Johnson remains in the rotation hinges on potential trades to bolster the banged-up starting rotation and its relief corps.

"We've made moves before," outfielder Mookie Betts told the Boston Globe. "This is the time of the year you're waiting to see what will happen. All we can do is play."

Red Sox second baseman Brock Holt left Friday's game in the fourth inning with a right knee contusion. But they could have their starting third baseman back in the lineup on Saturday. Third baseman Rafael Devers (left shoulder) is eligible to come off the disabled list and appears ready to return.

"We're going to wait and see how he feels," manager Alex Cora told MLB.com. "He went back home, went to the academy (in the Dominican Republic), hit there, got treatment there, too. He feels OK; we'll see him (Friday) take grounders and hit. If everything goes right, he should be active."

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