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Old Dodgers foe Justin Upton thriving in Motor City

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Detroit Tigers v Texas Rangers Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Dodgers open a three-game series against the Tigers on Friday night at Comerica Park, and will face an old divisional foe in Justin Upton, who is enjoying a fine season in Detroit.

Upton has seemingly been around forever, reaching the major leagues as a teenager with the Diamondbacks in 2007. Upton is in his 11th season, yet doesn’t turn 30 until next Friday.

The Tigers left fielder is hitting .278/.364/.525 with 23 home runs and 33 doubles this season, ranking eighth in the American League in FanGraphs Wins Above Replacement (3.8) and ninth in wRC+ (135). He’s in the second year of a six-year, $133 million contract with Detroit, a deal he can opt out of after the season if he so chooses.

Since the All-Star break, Upton is hitting .311/.397/.607 with eight home runs, 12 doubles, and 31 RBI in 32 games.

Upton is a career .234/.298/.425 hitter against the Dodgers in 109 games, though he hasn’t faced them since 2015. His production against the Dodgers was much better in 2014-15, hitting .298/.362/.607 with six home runs in 23 games.

Upton is 1-for-8 against Rich Hill, including 0-for-6 with two strikeouts in 2016 when Hill was with the A’s.

Two off days this week means all three Dodgers starters will pitch on six days rest in this series.

The Tigers return home on a four-game losing streak, with 10 losses in their last 12 games. Though they are 14 games under .500 as a team, Detroit is 29-28 at home this season.

The pitching has let the Tigers down this season, especially lately. Detroit has a 6.11 ERA in August, including 6.54 from the starters. Jordan Zimmermann will try to turn things around in the opener, after allowing seven runs in 3⅓ innings in his last start and with a 5.62 ERA on the season.

Going streaking

The Dodgers enter this series in Detroit having won their last 11 interleague games. The record since interleague play began in 1997 is 13 straight wins, set by the 2003-04 Yankees, the 2004 Rays, and 2014 Marlins.

Game info

Time: 4:10 p.m. PT

TV: SportsNet LA