OAKLAND -- It wasn't long ago that left-handed starters were an opportunity for the Tigers to bust out their offense, back in the years when they were heavy on right-handed power hitters.
That hasn't held this season, though they'll get a chance to try to improve against A's southpaw Tommy Milone on Friday night.
The Tigers haven't won a game started by a left-hander since they swept the Royals in Kansas City in mid-April, helped by victories against Jonathan Sanchez and Danny Duffy. The only lefty starters to take losses against Detroit have been Duffy on April 16 and Chris Sale the day before.
Detroit's 6-5 record in games against left-handed starters is just slightly better than its 9-10 record against right-handers. The more meaningful difference comes when comparing the Tigers' stats against lefties to the rest of the league.
Against all pitchers, the Tigers entered Thursday around the middle of the pack offensively. Their .249 average ranks sixth among the 14 American League clubs, while their .702 OPS ranks ninth. Their 124 runs through 30 games, while not particularly a good total, still ranks 10th.
Split up the stats against left-handers, and the Tigers are batting just .223, 11th in the league. Their .638 OPS ranks 10th.
If you're looking for a spot where Detroit truly misses Victor Martinez, this might be it. He batted .311 with an .823 OPS against southpaws last year in his first season in Detroit, and .400 the year before that in Boston.