DETROIT — Michael Fulmer knows it won’t be easy.
Which is why he’s been preparing to face the Los Angeles Dodgers since his last start, his first after missing two turns with an inflamed ulnar nerve in his right elbow.
“They’re fun to watch as a baseball fan,” the Detroit Tigers’ right-hander said Friday on the eve of his turn against the team with the best record in baseball.
So how does one go about this task?
“You do your scouting,” Fulmer said. “I’ve been watching video on them for a few days now.
“Their 2-3-4 hitters go left-right-left. It’s definitely going to be a challenge.”
He may or may not have gotten much from Friday night’s 8-5 Los Angeles win over Detroit, but nearly all the Dodger hitters were up five times for Fulmer to study.
Fulmer (10-10, 3.78 ERA) has lost four in a row and given up 14 earned runs in his last three. He worked between starts on correcting a mechanical flaw and will be trying them out against a team he has never faced in his career.
The Dodgers counter with lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu (4-6, 3.63), who is 2-0 with a 2.50 ERA for his last seven starts. Ryu only faced the Tigers once in his career, in 2014, when he allowed a career-high seven earned runs on 10 hits in 2 1/3 innings. That start also was at Comerica Park.
Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said Friday newly activated first baseman Adrian Gonzalez would start all three games of the series, serving as the designated hitter on Sunday.
The Dodgers added another veteran — one familiar to Detroit fans — with the acquisition of outfielder Curtis Granderson on Friday night from the New York Mets.
Granderson, who played five seasons with the Tigers, was batting .228 with 19 homers and 52 RBIs in 111 games this season for the Mets. Since May 21, however, he has a .276 average in his last 71 games with 40 runs, 13 doubles, two triples, 16 homers and 38 RBIs in that span.
“A little bittersweet,” Granderson said of the trade. “But to get an opportunity to play in the postseason is going to be exciting.”
Rookie sensation Cody Bellinger is scheduled to play left field the first two games (although he may DH Saturday) and first on Sunday.
Shortstop Corey Seager served as the DH on Friday night, which Roberts said was good because it gave his starter two days in a row off his feet.
Manager Brad Ausmus of Detroit will have a four-man bench for at least a week with the disabling of right-hander Anibal Sanchez (left hamstring) and the recall of center fielder JaCoby Jones.
The Tigers have a day off Monday and won’t need a fifth starter until next Saturday, but Ausmus said he hasn’t determined who that starter will be.
Ausmus might be getting worn down by all the deficits he’s been watching over the last couple of weeks, as Detroit starters get roughed up most of the time and when they don’t, the bullpen does.
“We can’t continue to give up this many runs and expect to win games,” Ausmus said. “It’s been a lot of home runs and a lot of walks. We were counting on some guys to build on what they were doing in late July and early August and that hasn’t happened.”