The Tigers moved above .500 for the first time this season over the weekend, as they completed a three-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox, beating their division rivals for the ninth straight time with back-to-back shutouts on Saturday and Sunday to complete the whitewash.
Max Scherzer capped the sweep on Sunday, as he scattered four hits over eight scoreless innings in a 3-0 win. At 4-0, Scherzer is off to the best start of his career.
"It's always good to get a win," Scherzer said. "We played good team baseball today. Our hitters came through today."
While the Tigers may have finally started to find their footing, the same can be said about the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Hernandez, who takes the hill tonight in search of his second straight win.
After pitching to a 4.33 ERA through his first four starts, Hernandez blanked the Oakland Athletics over 7 2/3 innings his last time out to improve to 2-2, while lowering his ERA to 3.38.
"I just put it in my mind to pitch the way I know how to pitch," said Hernandez, who picked up his first win since a complete game on Opening Day. "That's what I was doing. ... Everything was on the corners and my breaking pitches were good. That's all I can do. Throw strikes. And they gave me one run and we win."
Of course, run support continues to be a problem for the talented right- hander, who has allowed two earned runs or less in four of his five outings with his only hiccup being a seven-run barrage he surrendered to Toronto back on April 11. The Mariners have provided him with just one run over his last three starts.
Hernandez has faced the Tigers nine times and is 6-2 against them with a 2.68 ERA.
Seattle comes into tonight's matchup on the heels of splitting a four-game set with the A's. The Mariners had won the first two games of that set, but lost the final two, while being outscored 14-3.
"These guys are going to have to figure out a way to fight through whatever they're going through mentally, or fundamentally, and finish off innings. That's the difference," said Seattle manager Eric Wedge.
Hoping to keep the Mariners in check tonight will be left-hander Phil Coke, who is 1-3 with a 2.75 ERA. Coke lost to the Mariners his last time out, as he gave up six runs (two earned) and six hits in just 3 2/3 innings. Coke also walked four batters in the loss.
This will be his second-ever start against Seattle, but he has faced them eight other times out of the bullpen and is 0-1 with a 2.61 ERA overall against them.
Detroit took two of three from the Mariners last week.