Hot dog, what a game that was last night! The Detroit Tigers crossed the border to take on the Toronto Blue Jays in a matchup that heavily favored the latter, yet the Motor City Kitties managed to hang in there long enough to score an extra-inning win. Tyler Alexander threw a gem and Hitting Harold came through in the clutch to take the first of a three-game weekend series.
This afternoon, the cats and birds tangle again as the boys in the Olde English D look to snag another victory over their northern neighbors and seal the series win. They will have to do it behind their veteran innings-eater while the Jays send another stud to the bump. Here is a look at how things are lined up for today’s matchup.
Detroit Tigers (59-65) vs. Toronto Blue Jays (63-57)
Time/Place: 3:07 p.m., Rogers Centre
SB Nation site: Bluebird Banter
Media: Bally Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network
Pitching Matchup: RHP Wily Peralta (3-2, 3.70 ERA) vs. LHP Hyun Jin Ryu (11-6, 3.72 ERA)
Game 125 Pitching Matchup
Tigers fans have become quite familiar with Wily Peralta in recent months. The 32-year-old signed a minor league contract with the club in the offseason and joined the big league team in June after a rash of injuries necessitated a warm body to put on the mound. The long story short is that the right-hander has pretty much done just that — despite less-than-savory traditional numbers, the grizzled veteran has given Detroit a chance to win in a large percentage of his outings. However, he has been stumbling a bit of late after performing brilliantly in six of his first seven games.
Peralta’s last five outings have been pretty ugly, to be honest. He has posted a 6.65 ERA and 1.74 WHIP over 23 innings, striking out 17 while surrendering a whopping six home runs on an average of 87 pitches per game. He has allowed a slash line of .299 BA/.373 OBP/.577 SLG over that stretch, but interestingly, the good guys have won three of the five starts. All that really matters is that mark in the win column at the end of the day, right?
Taking the hill for the Jays is former KBO star Hyun Jin Ryu, who is now in his second year in the Great White North after spending his first six MLB seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The 34-year-old has been a menace to opposing batters in all of his big league seasons except for his brief 2016 campaign and that trend continues this year. However, the left-hander has seen a bit of a drop-off in his traditional stats, slipping from absolutely spectacular to still extremely good, notching his highest ERA since 2017. Still, a 3.72 ERA along with a 1.17 WHIP and a 3.70 FIP are nothing to sneeze at.
Ryu has a diverse pitching arsenal typical of Asian pitchers that consists of six different options — though two are rarely used in 2021. Per Baseball Savant, his 90 mph four-seam fastball sees a plurality of usage at 35 percent, while his 80 mph changeup and 86 mph cutter are thrown almost an even 26 percent of the time, and a 74 mph curveball he breaks out at a 12.5 percent rate; he also has an 80 mph slider and 86 mph sinker that see under one percent usage. While the slider has been phased out the past few seasons, his sinker saw significantly more usage in 2020; however, he lost 4.6 mph on the pitch over that stretch, for what it is worth.
Key Matchup: Offense vs. the Crafty Lefty
Topping out at 90 mph, Ryu represents one of Detroit’s biggest Achilles heels over the years: the soft-tossing lefthander. The Korean veteran has great velocity separation on his pitches and is the kind of hurler that traditionally picks apart a Tigers batting order — not to mention his penchant for preventing walks, ranking in the 91st percentile among major leaguers. Opposing offenses are faring the best against his four-seamer, in which batters are hitting .268 BA and .507 SLG in 153 plate appearances along with a hard-hit rate of 58.4 percent, so the hitters should focus on his primary offering if they can. That said, it will take a special performance by Peralta and Co. to repeat the results from Friday night’s affair.