Well-rested Javier Baez, Tigers ready for meeting with Royals

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Jul 6, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA;  Detroit Tigers shortstop Javier Baez (28) hits a double in the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Comerica Park.
Jul 6, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Tigers shortstop Javier Baez (28) hits a double in the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Comerica Park.
Image: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers are hoping a day off results in a fresh start for shortstop Javier Baez, who remains mired in a season-long slump

Baez will be back in the lineup when the Tigers continue their four-game series against the host Kansas City Royals on Tuesday. He was given a rest day on Monday, when Detroit rallied with three runs in the eighth inning for a 3-2 victory


Baez is hitting .220 with six home runs and 44 RBIs this season, his second with the Tigers. He has also struck out 84 times in 88 games

"I think some of that is mechanical and him getting in a good position," Detroit manager A.J. Hinch said. "I think the majority of it is trying to cover every bit of the strike zone and areas around the strike zone at the same time. Once we can get his mentality to shift, to stick with his plan, it can click for him. When he gets hot, he gets white-hot. That's obviously something we're looking for."


Detroit, which has won three of four games since the All-Star break, will send left-hander Tarik Skubal (0-0, 0.00 ERA) to the mound on Tuesday. He has pitched well in two starts since missing 11 months following elbow surgery.

Skubal, 26, allowed two hits over four scoreless innings against the Toronto Blue Jays on July 9. He has pitched four innings in each of his first two outings since coming off the injured list.

"You can't replicate big-league innings anywhere else -- 50 pitches here isn't like 50 pitches anywhere else," Skubal said. "It was important to come back slowly, but my body has responded well. This feels good."

Bobby Witt Jr. is 1-for-8 against Skubal, who has gone 1-6 with a 4.60 ERA in nine career appearances (seven starts) versus Kansas City.


The Royals have lost nine of their last 11 games and continue to monitor the status of All-Star catcher Salvador Perez, who is listed as day-to-day with a left hamstring strain

Left-hander Daniel Lynch (2-4, 4.18) will start for Kansas City after allowing three runs over six innings in a 3-0 loss to the Cleveland Guardians on July 7. The start was the 50th of his career.


Lynch, 26, owns a 6.04 ERA in four home starts this season compared to a 2.52 mark in four outings away from Kauffman Stadium.

Spencer Torkelson has two hits in 12 at-bats against Lynch, who is 2-3 with a 4.21 ERA in seven career starts versus Detroit. Baez has four hits in 13 at-bats with a home run and four RBIs against Lynch.


Kansas City's bullpen is looking to bounce back after failing to hold the lead on Monday. Detroit loaded the bases with two outs against Taylor Clarke and snapped a 20-inning scoreless streak when Jose Cuas walked Kerry Carpenter and Matt Vierling followed with a two-run double.

Clarke has allowed a total of 10 runs over his last six appearances covering 4 2/3 innings.


"He and the pitching guys are working every day to figure out how to make him get back to where he was in the earlier part of the year," Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. "He's had a couple of good outings prior to this one. We believe in him, and he's a guy that we count on. We're not going to back away from him.

--Field Level Media