After sweeping the Royals in Kansas City, the Tigers endured one of baseball’s worst traditions: getting demolished in Anaheim. The series did end on a high note, but dropping three of four put Detroit back in last place of the AL Central.
No need to go on about that, though. Tuesday brings about another start for Tarik Skubal, who is really starting to hit his stride. After a 5.73 ERA over the first month and a half, he has been great over his last six outings. Each start has gone between five and six innings and none have featured over three earned runs; the youngster’s ERA sits squarely at 3.00 during this span.
Just as encouraging is the jump of strikeouts, with Skubal striking out 50 over his past 33 innings. This is the pitcher the Tigers have been longing to see, and it honestly makes the season worth it if he, Casey Mize, and Matt Manning can show some promise for the future. It looks like Skubal is ready to meet that challenge.
Detroit Tigers (30-42) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (36-36)
Time/Place: 7:10 p.m., Comerica Park
SB Nation site: Viva El Birdos
Media: Bally Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network
Pitching Matchup: LHP Tarik Skubal (4-7, 4.36 ERA) vs. RHP Johan Oviedo (0-2, 4.58 ERA)
Game 73 Pitching Matchup
The Cardinals started well and had a 30-22 record in late May, but it has not been great since then. A 6-14 stretch leaves the team at .500 and off the pace in the tough NL Central. Meanwhile, Tuesday night’s starter, Johan Oviedo, is actually younger than Skubal. His MLB debut last season was nothing special, and results have been mixed this year as well.
However, Oviedo is coming off a brilliant outing against the Marlins where he pitched seven scoreless innings last Wednesday. He did only record four strikeouts though, and he is not a pitcher who will generate a lot of whiffs. The Tigers offense has been about league average over the past two weeks, but strikeouts still remain an issue (sixth-highest) so it will be interesting to see how Oviedo fares.
Key matchup: Skubal vs. contact
While Skubal has been enjoying a very solid stretch over the past month, he has also been giving up some less-than-ideal contact. His soft-hit rate sits at just 12.0 percent, while his hard-hit rate is up at 41.3 percent, leading to a .357 BABIP during this span. The strikeouts have been great, so if Skubal can just reduce the quality of contact his numbers might get even better. If he is able to cut down on the mistake pitches, then look out.