Detroit Tigers (24-40) vs. Texas Rangers (31-33)
When: 4:10 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Comerica Park in Detroit.
TV: Bally Sports Detroit, FS1.
Radio: WXYT-FM (97.1) (Tigers radio affiliates).
First-pitch forecast: Clear, low-70s.
Probable pitchers: Tigers RHP Rony García (0-2, 5.06 ERA) vs. Rangers LHP Taylor Hearn (4-4, 5.37 ERA).
1. Willi Castro, RF
2. Robbie Grossman, LF
3. Miguel Cabrera, DH
4. Eric Haase, C
5. Javier Báez, SS
6. Riley Greene, CF
7. Spencer Torkelson, 1B
8. Jonathan Schoop, 2B
9. Kody Clemens, 3B
Game notes: After months of waiting, Riley Greene — arguably the best prospect in baseball — is finally making his Tigers debut. The outfielder, who was the Tigers’ top pick in 2019, at No. 5 overall, will become a big leaguer at 21 years, 262 days. (He turns 22 on Sept. 28, in case you want to start your birthday shopping now.)
Greene, who will be the 11th first-rounder from the 2019 draft, will also be the seventh Tigers hitter over the past 25 seasons to debut at 21 or younger. A quick look at how the previous six fared in their debuts:
2002 – Omar Infante: Just three years after signing as an international free agent out of Venezuela, the infielder, at 20 years, 255 days, grounded out in his first at-bat on Sept. 7, flew out to right in his second and then singled in the eventual winning run off Yankees lefty Mike Mussina in the eighth inning at Yankee Stadium.
2007 – Cameron Maybin: The No. 10 overall pick in 2005 debuted just over two years after the draft, at 20 years, 135 days on Aug. 17; he went 0-for-4 against the Yankees in New York, but the real fireworks came in his second game. Maybin singled in the third inning, then homered in the fifth off seven-time Cy Young winner Roger Clemens.
2012 – Hernan Perez: Signed as a 16-year-old out of Venezuela, Perez debuted at 21 years, 75 days on June 9. He went 0-for-1 pinch-hitting against the Reds in Cincinnati, then picked up his first hit the next night with a single in replacement duty in the ninth inning off future Tiger Alfredo Simon.
2012 – Avisail Garcia: Another international free agent out of Venezuela, “Mini Miggy” debuted at 21 years, 80 days, about five years after he signed with the Tigers. He entered as a defensive replacement in the eighth inning at Comerica Park on Aug. 31; he didn’t come to the plate until the next night, when he went 1-for-3 against the White Sox with a walk in the second inning and an RBI single in the fifth.
2013 – Nick Castellanos: Three years and some change after being drafted out of high school toward the end of the first round (No. 44 overall), the Florida native picked up two at-bats as a pinch-hitter and defensive replacement in the outfield (why are you laughing?) against Cleveland at 21 years, 181 days on Sept. 1. Hit No. 1 didn’t arrive until Game 4, a single to lead off the fifth inning against the Royals on Seot 7.
2020 – Isaac Paredes: Five years after he signed with the Cubs as an international free agent (he was traded to the Tigers in 2017), Paredes debuted at 21 years, 181 days against the other Chicago franchise. He went 1-for-4 with a single in the fourth inning on Aug. 17 to drive in the Tigers’ only runs in a 7-2 loss to the White Sox.
That’s two hits in six debuts, which doesn’t exactly bode well. But the matchup against Hearn could play in Greene’s favor; the rookie absolutely crushed lefties last season in Triple-A Toledo, posting a .368/.466/.574 slash line in 161 plate appearances against southpaws.
That’s good, because no other Tiger has had success against Hearn, who’s in his fourth season in the majors. Victor Reyes is the only Detroit batter on the roster who has reached base against Hearn, walking in his only plate appearance against him on July 22, 2021. The rest of the Tigers are 0-for-9. Then again, that’s not that different than what the Tigers have done against the rest of the league on this homestand: In eight games against the Blue Jays, White Sox and Rangers, the Tigers have hit .206 and averaged 1.5 runs a game.
After Saturday’s matchup, the Tigers and Rangers wrap up the series with a 1:40 p.m. matinee. The Tigers then head to Boston for three games against the Red Sox, while the Rangers will have a day off before hosting the Phillies on Tuesday and Wednesday.
WHAT TO EXPECT: Spencer Torkelson says Riley Greene is ‘spark this team needs’
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