Tigers starters don't necessarily take the mound thinking of one-upping the previous day's performance, but if one guy throws a gem ...
"We just want to keep the bar that high," said right-hander Max Scherzer, who will start Wednesday's finale against the Astros. "If we're able to measure ourselves against each other and push each other to be the best that we can, that's only good for our ballclub. That's going to make us win games, because when you have good pitching, a lot of good things happen."
That's been the case for Tigers starters, who are 15-7 with a 3.08 ERA in their last 30 games -- the last of which was Doug Fister's seven-inning performance in Tuesday's 6-2 win.
Scherzer will look to follow Fister -- and lead the Tigers to a sweep of their new American League companions -- like he did the last time he faced the Astros. Scherzer tossed eight innings of one-run ball with eight strikeouts on May 4 in a 17-2 romp of the Astros in Houston.
"You just know with our type of offense, they're going to score runs," Scherzer said. "Most of the time, we're going to score five, six runs. So if you can go out there and just prevent them from having a big inning and pitch effectively into the sixth, seventh inning, you've got a great shot to help the team to win."
That's precisely what the Tigers have done against the Astros this season, outscoring them, 50-12, en route to six wins in as many tries. Houston will send left-hander Dallas Keuchel to the mound on Wednesday, hoping the 25-year-old can repeat the quality start he delivered his last time out in his first start of the season.
Keuchel tossed four innings of scoreless relief against the Tigers on May 2 before allowing four runs in the 14th inning of a 7-3 loss. On Wednesday, he'll get another crack against one of the AL's toughest lineups.
"You're never at ease when you look at this lineup, no matter who you're sending out there," said Astros manager Bo Porter, whose squad has dropped six straight.
Astros: Elmore filling in at second
Infielder Jake Elmore, recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City before Tuesday's game, will get all of the at-bats while Jose Altuve is on the bereavement list.
"When you come to the ballpark, you always want to play, so yeah, it's exciting and it shows the confidence they have in me," Elmore said. "I look forward to proving them right."
Elmore went 1-for-4 on Tuesday.
"He's played well down in Triple-A, and this is an opportunity for us to give a chance to see him," Porter said.
Altuve, whose grandmother died, is expected back Saturday.
• Reliever Jose Veras has held opponents to a .125 average in his last 10 games.
Tigers: Garcia in line to start in center
Avisail Garcia is expected to start in center field on Wednesday as the Tigers divvy up playing time there while Austin Jackson is on the disabled list with a pulled left hamstring. It would be Garcia's first career start in center.
• Shortstop Jhonny Peralta has hit safely in 24 of his last 28 games, batting .355 with seven doubles, three homers and 16 RBIs in that stretch. He received the night off on Tuesday.
• First baseman Prince Fielder has reached safely in 24 consecutive games at Comerica Park dating back to last season.
• The Astros last won in Detroit on July 14, 2000.
• Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter is two home runs shy of 300 for his Major League career.
• The Astros have turned a Major League-high 54 double plays this season.