Detroit Tigers game score vs. Boston Red Sox: Time, TV and starters for series opener

Detroit Free Press

Detroit Tigers (26-40) vs. Boston Red Sox (36-31)

When: 7:10 p.m. Monday.

Where: Fenway Park in Boston.

TV: Bally Sports Detroit.

Radio: WXYT-FM (97.1) in Detroit (Tigers radio affiliates).

First-pitch forecast: Clear, high-60s.

Probable pitchers: Tigers RHP Alex Faedo (1-3, 4.28 ERA) vs. Red Sox RHP Josh Winckowski (1-1, 4.50 ERA).

• Box score

Tigers lineup: TBA.

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Game notes: Much-maligned, much-defended and, well, much-discussed Tigers shortstop Javier Báez is riding a four-game hit streak since sitting out Wednesday’s series finale against the White Sox. He went 4-for-15 over four games against the Rangers, but seeing as how those hits included a double (Thursday) and a home run (Saturday, his first since May 22), you could make the “quality over quantity” argument for his recent performance. On Sunday, Báez was also active on the bases, swiping two bases to spark a suddenly frisky Tigers offense, which scored seven runs for just the fifth time this season (in, sigh, 66 games).

Still, the question is always, “What can he do today?” On that, there’s some good news for Báez and Tigers fans, though we’re working off some small sample sizes with Monday’s starter, Josh Winckowski, who is making his third career MLB start, with seven strikeouts over eight innings combined in his first two. Winckowski does throw a slider, the bane of Báez ’s existence this season. (He’s hitting .120 on sliders in 2022, with a strikeout rate of 39.5% and a whiff rate of 52.8% on the pitch.) Of the 80 pitches he has thrown against righties, 29, or 36.3%, have been sliders. (That’s compared to 13 of 61, or 21.3%, to lefties.)

But while it has drawn a 36.4% whiff rate against fellow righties, Winckowski doesn’t rely on it as his out pitch. Instead, the 23-year-old (for eight more days) falls heavily on his sinker, throwing it 48.8% of the time to righties while drawing a 13% whiff rate with a .462 average. Likewise, Báez hasn’t hit sinkers well this year, with a .130 average, but his whiff rate is just 23.9% on them. And then there’s Winckowski’s most effective pitch, his four-seam fastball; he has thrown it 10 times to righties, producing two whiffs and four batted balls, with just one hit. But Báez has handled four-seamers best this season, with a .273 batting average and just a 25.3% whiff rate and 15.2% strikeout rate on them.

Of course, Báez isn’t the only Tiger batter, but considering Winckowski’s limited MLB experience, there isn’t much to draw on. One Tiger with some time against the righty? Kody Clemens, who faced Winckowski, pitching for the Worcester Red Sox, on May 5 with Toledo. Winckowski held the Mud Hens to just two hits over five innings, but one of those was a first-inning triple on a 2-2 count.

The Tigers, meanwhile, will send Faedo to the mound for the ninth time. After opening his MLB career with seven straight starts of at least five innings and two runs or fewer allowed, the 2017 first-round pick was touched up for seven runs over three innings by the White Sox on Wednesday.

After Monday’s series opener, the Tigers and Sox play Tuesday and Wednesday, both at 7:10 p.m. The Tigers then get Thursday off before heading west for a three-game series against the Diamondbacks. The Red Sox, meanwhile, will have Thursday to travel to Cleveland for a three-game set.

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Contact Ryan Ford at rford@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @theford. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.

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