Skubal, who has emerged as the ace of the Tigers’ rotation this season amid injuries up and down Detroit’s pitching staff, shut down the Twins’ offense on three hits with four strikeouts. He seemed in control for most of the game, mixing sinkers, sliders and changeups masterfully, but his fastball velocity dipped a tick as his outing went on.
Skubal stranded a runner on third in the fifth after an awkward, errant throw to second on a Nick Gordon stolen base. He retired Jorge Polanco to end the threat, but marched through the dugout and straight down the steps to the clubhouse at inning’s end. Will Vest immediately began warming and replaced him for the sixth inning.
Skubal is the only member of Detroit’s Opening Day rotation who hasn’t been on the injured list this season. While the Tigers lost Casey Mize to Tommy John surgery and Eduardo Rodriguez, Matt Manning, Tyler Alexander, Michael Pineda and others to various injuries and issues, Skubal has made his scheduled start every turn through the rotation.
With the starting pitching market thin, the Tigers have been willing to listen to trade interest on Skubal, who has four more seasons after this year before free agency. However, Detroit has set a high price, believed to include multiple top prospects as part of a larger package.
Any injury, even fatigue, would understandably dampen trade interest for a young southpaw who has yet to top 150 innings in a season. He currently sits at 117 2/3 innings over 21 starts.