Game 72 Preview: Tigers out for road sweep of Diamondbacks on Sunday

Bless You Boys

It has been a fun weekend so far for the Detroit Tigers, who have taken the first two of a three-game series on the road against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Motor City Kitties strolled into town on Friday and came away with a 5-1 win before seizing the series with a 6-3 victory in a late one for those on the east coast Saturday. Alex Faedo started strong but faltered in the fourth before the bats stepped up to lift the team to victory, including Cody Clemens’ first major league home run; meanwhile, Riley Greene flashed the leather to give the good guys a boost on defense.

A win on Sunday would give Detroit its first series sweep since taking a two-gamer from the Pittsburgh Pirates earlier this month — also on the road — as well as build some momentum ahead of its next stop against the San Francisco Giants. The matchup on the mound will be an interesting one as the two pitchers are both saddled with negative fWAR values and are seemingly heading in different directions career-wise. The Tigers have yet another rookie making the start while the Diamondbacks are getting their first action out of an accomplished veteran they are hoping to reclaim. Take a look at what is on tap this afternoon.

Detroit Tigers (28-43) at Arizona Diamondbacks (32-41)

Time/Place: 4:10 p.m., Chase Field
SB Nation site: AZ Snake Pit
Media: Bally Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network
Pitching Matchup: RHP Beau Brieske (1-6, 4.07 ERA) vs. LHP Dallas Keuchel (2-5, 7.88 ERA)

Game 72 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Brieske 59.2 16.6 6.9 5.43 -0.2
Keuchel (CWS) 32.0 12.2 12.2 6.18 -0.3

It has truly been a trial-by-fire debut season for Beau Brieske, who despite some ugly traditional numbers is holding his own and giving the Tigers much-needed innings. Through the right-hander’s first eight games, he put up a 4.93 ERA and 6.52 FIP while allowing at least one run in all of those starts, with the home run ball truly being his bane as he served up 12 dingers in 42 innings pitched.

However, in his ninth and tenth starts against the Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers, respectively, he shut out both teams while reaching a 2022 highwater mark in the latter game with seven innings of no-run ball on three hits and two walks while striking out six. Unfortunately, his most recent start against the Boston Red Sox saw him regress to take his sixth loss of the season, surrendering four runs on six hits (no walks) with four Ks over five frames — and of course an obligatory home run. The good news is that Arizona’s offense does not have much bite to it, giving Brieske a solid chance at a bounce-back effort.

Dallas Keuchel is a long way away from his prime years, which peaked in 2015 when he won a Cy Young award with the Houston Astros, the franchise that originally selected him in the seventh round of the 2009 MLB draft. While the left-hander continued to put up highly productive seasons after that, the COVID season in which he earned Cy Young and MVP votes seems to represent the end of the line for him. Since his first year with the Chicago White Sox in 2020, the soft-tossing hurler has seen some significant regression which led to his release earlier this season.

The Diamondbacks took a chance on Keuchel after he passed through waivers, reuniting him with his pitching coach in Houston during his best years, Brent Strom, and get their first gander at their grizzled veteran pitcher on Sunday. Ahead of his call-up, he started a pair of games at the Complex League level, logging 12 frames and allowing six earned runs, while striking out 17 — which does not sound that much better than his recent performance in the big leagues. The 34-year-old could be ripe for the pickings by the Tigers’ offense if these trends hold up.

Key Matchup: Battle of the negative fWAR

Both of today’s starters enter the game on the wrong side of the fWAR equation along with overall ugly stats. However, it feels like the Tigers have an edge here as Brieske has shown he can battle with the best at times, while Keuchel looks like it is time to stick a fork in him. This matchup has a similar vibe to Lance Lynn’s return from injury with the White Sox on June 13 when Detroit knocked him around, though the Olde English D came away with a big L due to Chicago’s overwhelming offense. Still, a strong start from Brieske and a continued resurgence by the bats should result in a weekend sweep for the visiting team.

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