Happy Independence Day to all of the U.S. Detroit Tigers fans out there! Today, the beloved boys in the Olde English D have a chance to take a three-game weekend set from the American League Central Division-leading Chicago White Sox after splitting the first two of the series. A late rally by the ChiSox ended the first game with an 8-2 victory for the South Siders while a strong effort by the offense catapulted the good guys to a Saturday win by a score of 11-5.
Now on Sunday, the third piece of Detroit’s pitching prospect triumvirate takes the bump looking to guide the team to some Fourth of July fireworks while the Pale Hose have a hurler on the hill who has mixed results against the Tigers this season. Here is a look at the matchup on the mound for this weekend’s rubber game.
Detroit Tigers (37-46) vs. Chicago White Sox (49-33)
Game 84 Pitching Matchup
Matt Manning is only three games into his major league career, so it is hard to get too discouraged by his current numbers — especially considering the struggles his two prospect peers also experienced on their initial call-ups. Nonetheless, his first two starts were actually somewhat impressive, throwing at least five innings while giving up a pair of runs in each for a 3.38 ERA and four total strikeouts against four walks. Then in his last start, things got ugly when the Cleveland Indians tagged him for nine runs on nine hits and no walks but surrendering two dingers in 3 2⁄3 innings for the loss. To some degree, that game was inevitable given his over-reliance on his fastball so far.
On the topic of his pitching repertoire, the 23-year-old relies predominantly on his 93.3 mph four-seamer, which he has used an overwhelming 65.1 percent of the time over his first three starts. His secondaries consist of an 86.8 mph changeup and an 80.6 mph slider that gets used 15.9 and 15.1 percent of the time, respectively, while his 78.2 mph curveball is utilized a meager 3.4 percent of the time; he also appears to have a 95.1 mph sinker which he has thrown just once according to Statcast. If the former first-round pick is going to find long-term success in the majors, he is going to need to follow the advice of Wu-Tang Financial and diversify his offerings.
On the mound opposite of Manning is Lucas Giolito, who is facing the Tigers for the fourth time this year. The 26-year-old is in his sixth big-league campaign — the fifth with the White Sox — and has continued the solid pitching we have seen from him over the past two-plus seasons as both his traditional and advanced numbers have settled in nicely after a disastrous showing in 2018.
So far in 2021, the veteran right-hander is 0-2 against Detroit although his performances versus the Tigers have not been all that bad. His first outing came on April 27, when he surrendered four runs on five hits, three walks and a pair of homers while striking out seven in 6 2⁄3 innings for the big L. His next game — which also earned him a loss — came on June 5 when he once again gave up four runs, this time on seven hits, no walks and three home runs while striking out nine over seven innings. Then finally, he pitched against the Olde English D the very next time out on June 11, giving up a pair of runs on six hits, a walk and two home runs while once again racking up nine Ks in a no-decision.
Key Matchup: Tigers’ home run swing vs Giolito
You may have noticed that Detroit has done a good job in 2021 putting the ball over the fence against Chicago’s Sunday starter, slugging seven of them in just three games. Sure, the Tigers rank 21st in the majors in total home runs with 89 but they are the only team this season to go yard thrice in a game against Giolito and have also hit two twice — only two times in 13 starts has an opposing team other than the Tigers hit a pair. Look for Eric Haase and Miguel Cabrera, who have both notched a pair of dingers against the ChiSox hurler, to bring the fireworks to Comerica Park on Sunday.