The Tigers are a dangerous offensive team, something Lucas Harrell knows all too well.
The Astros right-hander will start against Detroit in the second of a three-game series on Tuesday night at Comerica Park, his second meeting with Detroit this month. After the first one, there likely is nowhere to go but up.
Harrell came into that outing on a roll, 3-0 with a 1.82 ERA over his previous four games. He left battered and bruised, having surrendered eight runs on 10 hits and four walks over 4 1/3 innings in a 17-2 loss. He gave up four runs in the first inning and a two-run homer to Miguel Cabrera in the second.
"When you face a lineup with hitters that are this good, sometimes when you make good pitches they're going to make better hits," Harrell said. "So it's just one of those things where you can't make any mistakes. I made one mistake to Miguel Cabrera late and he got me."
Did Harrell learn anything about facing the dynamic duo of Prince Fielder and Cabrera, who went 4-for-6 with two homers and six RBIs in the game?
"Get them out in one or two pitches, because if they're going to hit a home run, you don't want to throw six pitches and have them hit a home run," he said. "Because then you burn a bunch of pitches. So I try to attack those guys to throw good strikes."
Harrell won't have to face Tigers leadoff man Austin Jackson, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Monday with a strained left hamstring. Avisail Garcia was recalled from Triple-A Toledo, although Don Kelly got the start in center field.
Despite the injury, Harrell isn't expecting any less from Detroit's lineup.
"[Jackson's] a great player and their center fielder and the captain of the outfield," Harrell said, "but they have so many guys in their system that will step in and I know will do well, so it's just about attacking the guy that comes in."
Harrell (3-3, 4.67 ERA) rebounded in his last start, against the Angels, giving up one earned run in five innings. But he also tied a career high with six walks and needed 106 pitches to get through five.
The Tigers will counter with Doug Fister (4-1, 3.14), who took a no-decision against the Astros on May 3. He gave up three runs -- two earned -- on nine hits in six innings, walking one and striking out four.
The right-hander is coming off his least effective start of the season, Thursday at Washington. He lasted only three innings, surrendering five runs -- four earned -- on eight hits.
Since then, Fister has been working to slow down his delivery out of the stretch and made a mechanical tweak to try and sharpen his curveball, pitching coach Jeff Jones said. The curve, which has flattened out in recent starts, has been a huge reason for Fister's success since he was acquired from the Mariners in 2011.
"He's got a good curveball," Jones said.
Fister is throwing the same percentage of curveballs this season that he did last year, according to STATS, and he's getting a higher percentage of swings and misses. However, opponents are hitting .219 against his curve, compared to .154 last year.
Astros: Altuve, Norris leave Monday's game
Second baseman Jose Altuve, hitting .333 this season, left Monday's loss in the second inning with a partially dislocated right jaw. The injury occurred when Altuve raced back to catch a popup and collided with right fielder Jimmy Paredes.
No. 1 starter Bud Norris also left the game after suffering back spasms while throwing his sixth-inning warmups.
• Manager Bo Porter took some of the uncertainty out of the daily lineup card on Monday, when he named Robbie Grossman, J.D. Martinez and Paredes as his starting outfielders. They had been sharing starts with Trevor Crowe and Brandon Barnes but now will get a better chance to solidify themselves in the Astros' future plans.
"They're going to get the bulk of the playing time," Porter said, "so that I, as a manager, can make a definitive decision as a manager to answer the question, 'Can this guy or can that guy play every day at the Major League level?'"
Tigers: Options abound with Jackson out
Jackson will leave a significant hole in the middle of the outfield and top of the lineup while he is sidelined, but manager Jim Leyland can do some different things to try to fill the void.
Sometimes he might use the strategy he did on Monday, with Kelly manning center and Andy Dirks leading off. Dirks, who went 3-for-4 with a grand slam in the first game of the series, has played center before and could get some starts there against right-handed pitchers.
Leyland said he will not move former Gold Glove center fielder Torii Hunter over from right, leaving Garcia as the other option. The 21-year-old, who has played the position some in the Minors, hit well for the Tigers late last season and made the club's postseason roster. He was 16-for-37 (.432) with a double and a home run in eight games at Triple-A Toledo after coming off the disabled list.
• Including their 7-2 win on Monday, the Tigers have outscored the Astros 44-10 in winning all five games of the season series.
• Fister has hit more batters (10) than he has walked (eight) this season.
Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.