Detroit Tigers (22-34) vs. Toronto Blue Jays (34-23)
When: 4:10 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Comerica Park.
TV: Bally Sports Detroit.
Radio: WXYT-FM (97.1) (Tigers radio affiliates).
First-pitch forecast: High-70s, cloudy.
Probable pitchers: Tigers RHP Beau Brieske (0-5, 4.93 ERA) vs. Blue Jays RHP Kevin Gausman (5-4, 2.78 ERA).
OUT FOR 2022-23: Tigers right-hander Casey Mize to undergo Tommy John surgery
1. CF Victor Reyes
2. 2B Jonathan Schoop
3. RF Austin Meadows
4. DH Miguel Cabrera
5. 3B Harold Castro
6. SS Javier Baez
7. LF Willi Castro
8. 1B Spencer Torkelson
9. C Eric Haase
Game notes: MLB’s free-agent market isn’t always kind to teams looking for a quick boost — we’d point out the numbers put up by Eduardo Rodriguez and Javier Baez this season as evidence, but no one wants to look at those more than they have to.
But deals do work out, sometimes; consider Kevin Gausman’s first 11 starts for the Blue Jays, in which he has a 2.78 ERA with 73 strikeouts, SEVEN walks and two home runs allowed over 64 2/3 innings.
Gausman was already a Cy Young contender, finishing sixth in the NL vote last season with the San Francisco Giants after posting a 2.81 ERA, 3.00 FIP (a metric that measures pitchers’ effectiveness at controlling walks, homers, hit-by-pitches and strikeouts) and a 4.54 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He then signed a five-year, $110 million deal with the Jays. This season, his FIP is 1.61 and his K/BB ratio is, yes, 10.43. (By comparison, No. 2 in the majors, Aaron Nola, is at 8.50 and Tarik Skubal, himself having a stellar season, is at 7.00, good for sixth.)
After 5 ½ mostly mediocre seasons with the Orioles, Gausman reinvented himself in the National League in stints with the Braves, Reds and Giants. As such, he hasn’t faced many of the current Tigers; just five players on the active roster have plate appearances against him. Three of those, however, have home runs: Miguel Cabrera, with a homer, a double and four strikeouts in 18 at-bats; Javier Baez, with a homer, a single and five strikeouts in nine at-bats; and Tucker Barnhart, with two doubles, a homer and two strikeouts in nine at-bats.
The Tigers send 2019 27th-round pick Beau Brieske to the mound; his 2022 has been almost the opposite of Gausman’s, with a K/BB ratio of 1.93 (29 strikeouts, 15 walks) over 42 innings, with 12 homers allowed in just eight starts. Seven of those homers have come in his first two innings of work, so if you’re hoping to snag a souvenir from the Blue Jays, arrive early.
And if you’re hoping to snag one from the Tigers, well, this probably isn’t the game to attend. The two teams wrap up the series Sunday afternoon with a 1:40 p.m. start (following a pregame on-field tribute to Miguel Cabrera and his 500th career home run last season). The Tigers then face the Chicago White Sox in a three-game series Monday-Wednesday at Comerica Park, while the Jays return home for a four-game visit from the Orioles on Monday-Thursday.
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