Detroit Tigers (13-25) vs. Cleveland Guardians (16-19)
When: 7:10 p.m. Friday.
Where: Progressive Field in Cleveland.
TV: Bally Sports Detroit.
Radio: WXYT-FM (97.1) (Tigers radio affiliates).
Probable pitchers: Tigers LHP Tarik Skubal (3-2, 2.50 ERA) vs. Guardians RHP Aaron Civale (1-3, 9.85 ERA).
Tigers lineup: TBA.
Game notes: It’s the first meeting of the year between the longtime American League rivals. The Guardians won the 2021 season series 12-7, continuing a pattern of dominance over the Tigers. Though the century-long all-time series is close as can be (Detroit is 1,135-1,134 against Cleveland), the Guardians have little brother’d the Tigers since 2016 (27-67). Detroit won a paltry 36.8% of its games vs. Cleveland in 2021, but that’s its highest percentage since 2015 (don’t remind fans about the 1-18 record in 2019). The Tigers have won five of their last 17 at Progressive Field.
Skubal is the right man to the Tigers off on the right foot. He has given up just two runs this month, with 25 strikeouts in 19 innings over three starts. Skubal pitched seven shutout innings vs. Oakland then followed that with six scoreless vs. Baltimore. Last season, his first two starts were against the Guardians. He was touched up for eight runs in just over nine innings but pitched better in a May meeting: two runs on six hits over five innings with nine strikeouts.
Civale has seen plenty of the Tigers; Friday’s start will be No. 8 vs. Detroit, his most against any one team. He’s 6-0 with a sparkling 2.19 ERA over 49⅓ innings (31 hits, nine walks and 36 strikeouts). Miguel Cabera (.154 batting average in 13 at-bats), Jeimer Candelario (.231 in 13 ABs) and Jonathan Schoop (.077 in 13 ABs) have struggled vs. Civale in their career but Robbie Grossman (3-for-8 with a home run) has had some success. The 2022 ERA for Civale is not inflated by just a few bad starts — he’s yet to allow less than four runs in any appearance this season. Nor has he finished the sixth inning in any of his six starts. Over his last two games, vs. Minnesota and Toronto, he’s pitched a combined 10⅓ innings allowing 10 runs on 13 hits with two walks while striking out 13.
The series wraps up with a 6:10 p.m. start Saturday and a 1:40 p.m. start Sunday.
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