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May 7, 2024 1:29 am

Kenta Maeda leads Tigers into meeting with Guardians

guardians, tigers

The Detroit Tigers likely need right-hander Kenta Maeda to continue his traditional May success if they want to end their longest slide of the season.

Meanwhile, the American League Central-leading Cleveland Guardians continue to win no matter what the calendar reads.

Maeda and the Tigers can avoid a fifth straight loss by preventing the host Guardians from snagging their fourth consecutive win when the teams continue a three-game series on Tuesday.

To begin his Detroit tenure, Maeda (1-1, 5.02 ERA) went 0-1 with a 7.64 ERA in his first four starts. However, he has allowed just one run and seven hits without issuing a walk while striking out 10 in 11 innings across his past two outings.

The lone run came via a fourth-inning homer from Willson Contreras on Wednesday, when Maeda lasted six innings during the Tigers’ 4-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. With the victory, Maeda improved to 11-4 with a 3.65 ERA in 24 career starts in May.

“What I know about Kenta so far is when he catches that rhythm, he catches his delivery and he starts to repeat things, he can disrupt timing as good as anybody,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said.

While Hinch wants Maeda to continue trending in the right direction, he also needs Detroit’s offense to get going.

After totaling six runs while being swept in a three-game set by the host New York Yankees over the weekend, the Tigers stranded nine men and went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position on Monday in a series-opening, 2-1 loss at Cleveland. Though one game above .500, Detroit has been held to one or no runs 10 times in 35 games this season.

Maeda is 3-1 with a 3.86 ERA in six career starts against the Guardians, who are 11 games over .500 and have won three straight following a 3-6 stretch.

With one out in the sixth inning of a 1-1 game on Monday, Cleveland star Jose Ramirez sent the ball high and deep to right field, where it banged off the foul pole to put the Guardians ahead for good.

Ramirez increased hi season total to seven homers, and he will try to clear the wall for a third straight game on Tuesday.

“All the games are important, especially here in the Central Division,” Ramirez told Bally Sports Cleveland. “Our players did an amazing job (Monday), and just need to keep rolling.”

Ramirez is 2-for-16 with a home run in his career against Maeda.

Left-hander Logan Allen (3-2, 5.11 ERA) will head to the mound for Cleveland as he attempts to shake off losses in back-to-back starts.

Allen took a defeat against the Atlanta Braves on April 26, then fell to the Houston Astros on Thursday after surrendering three runs (two earned) on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings.

In one previous outing — a start — against the Tigers, Allen gave up two runs and four hits in six innings to take a loss on Aug. 20, 2023.

Detroit’s Riley Greene, who homered on the first pitch of the Monday game, is 1-for-3 vs. Allen in his career. Greene is 1-for-8 over the past two games after going 8-for-16 with two homers in the previous four contests.

–Field Level Media

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