The Detroit Tigers need to generate some excitement after two brutal months. The addition of outfielder Riley Greene could be the spark they need.
Greene, MLB Pipeline’s second-ranked prospect, will make his major league debut on Saturday afternoon in the third game of a four-game series against the Texas Rangers.
Tigers outfielder Austin Meadows was placed on the COVID-19 injured list, giving Greene a chance to energize the lowest-scoring team in the majors.
“We’re certainly excited to have him debut at home,” said manager A.J. Hinch, whose team carries a six-game losing streak into the contest. “It was just a matter of days before he was going to be called up. It just happened to line up, but unfortunately, we lose Austin in the process.”
Greene was expected to make the major league team coming out of spring training, but he broke his right foot on a foul ball just before the Tigers broke camp.
He was hitting .274 with one home run in 62 at-bats with Triple-A Toledo prior to the callup. Those numbers are not eye-popping, but Greene also brings a speed threat.
“The wish and hope is always that guys are dominating and tearing up their league, and it makes it obvious that this is their time to come up. But I think he’s competing fine,” Hinch said. “He’s swinging the bat very well, he’s commanding the strike zone, he’s running the bases and stealing bases.”
Right-hander Rony Garcia (0-2, 5.06 ERA) will start for Detroit on Saturday. He gave up four runs on five hits in four-plus innings against the Chicago White Sox in his latest start on Monday.
Garcia has served up a home run in each of his past six appearances, including all four of his starts. He will face Texas for the first time in his career.
Left-hander Taylor Hearn (4-4, 5.37 ERA) will make his 13th start of the season for the Rangers. Hearn has allowed three runs in each of his three June outings. He lasted 5 1/3 innings against the Houston Astros on Monday and wound up with a no-decision.
Hearn faced Detroit three times in relief appearances last July and gave up one run in 4 2/3 innings.
Considering how inept the Tigers’ offense has been, Hearn should be eager to get on the mound. Texas’ 7-0 victory on Friday was the 10th time the Tigers have been shut out this season, the fifth time Detroit was blanked this month.
Rangers pitchers held Detroit batters down in the series opener on Thursday, with Ezequiel Duran’s three-run triple in the ninth winning the game 3-1.
Texas was up 3-0 before the Tigers came to bat on Friday. Jonah Heim had a two-run double in that inning.
“Anything I can do to help this team win and get to the playoffs is all I’m here to do,” he said during a postgame TV interview.
Heim added his eighth home run of the season in the fifth off Detroit starter Tarik Skubal.
“I think it was a little wind-aided, but I’ll take them,” he said. “They all count.”
Texas has won five of its past seven games, including four straight on the road.
–Field Level Media