DETROIT -- Wednesday's game against Twins starter Brian Duensing started a stretch of five consecutive left-handed starters the Tigers will face to close out the week before the All-Star break. That means a busy extended holiday weekend for Ryan Raburn.
He was in the lineup on Wednesday in left field and batted second in place of Quintin Berry, who went 4-for-22 with four walks and an RBI over the previous six games since his three-hit effort at Texas last Wednesday. Rayburn will probably start in place of right fielder Brennan Boesch at least one game at some point this week -- maybe Friday against Royals lefty Jonathan Sanchez, off whom Boesch is 0-for-5 with two strikeouts -- and also will spend some time at second base.
Add in starts on Monday and Tuesday night against Twins righties Liam Hendriks and Nick Blackburn, plus Sunday's series finale at Tampa Bay against Rays righty Alex Cobb, and Raburn has a chance to play in eight straight games. Even when he was a regular earlier this year, he had only one stretch like that, back in early May.
Raburn entered Wednesday batting .183 (11-for-60) against left-handers, compared to .178 (18-for-101) off righties. His struggles off southpaws, as well as Jhonny Peralta's (.215 off lefties), have made a difference for a team with more left-handed hitters in its lineup these days.
Detroit, who used punish left-handed pitchers, entered Wednesday with an 8-13 record off lefties this year.