Game 106 Preview: Moving on from the trade deadline

Bless You Boys

Despite all of the anticipation leading up to the trade deadline on Tuesday, the Detroit Tigers were relatively quiet, trading Robbie Grossman to the Atlanta Braves and Michael Fulmer to the Minnesota Twins.

The Fulmer deal was one of those that saw the player shipped off to the team his now-former club was facing. Reporters and media followed Fulmer as he walked from the visitors’ clubhouse to the Minnesota one, and he quickly got some new threads to warm up in. Fulmer didn’t pitch against the Tigers in his first game wearing something other than the Olde English D, but that could change in this rubber match.

Al Avila waited until the very last minute to finish the deal, and the return is a project pitcher that has a chance to hit the big leagues, Sawyer Gipson-Long. He’s still in High-A ball and will need some time to even be considered as an option for the MLB roster, but Fulmer’s deal was expiring, and getting something is better than nothing on a rental.

As exciting (or not) as the trade deadline can be (seriously, congrats Padres fans on getting your Miggy), it’s all in the rear-view mirror… for now. The Tigers obviously aren’t going to contend for a spot in this year’s playoffs, barring a miracle, so the team needs to focus on putting together quality wins (and losses). You’d think that’s the kind of thing that should be said all year round, but in a year of uncertainty and sad baseball, it’s worth repeating.

The Tigers have a chance to do that Wednesday by taking two of three from the Twinkies, and guys such as Andrew Chafin and Joe Jiménez no longer have to worry about if this is their last game with the team. The same could have been said yesterday, technically, but guys were watching MLB Network in the clubhouse waiting to see if their name was part of any trades leading up to game time. That pressure is gone now.

Detroit Tigers (42-63) at Minnesota Twins (54-49)

Time/Place: 1:10 p.m., Target Field
SB Nation site: Twinkie Town
Media: Bally Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network
Pitching Matchup: LHP Tyler Alexander (2-4, 4.10 ERA) vs. Joe Ryan (7-4, 3.78 ERA)

Game 106 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Alexander 37.1 12.0 5.7 4.56 0.1
Ryan 85.2 22.7 7.1 4.42 0.6

On the bump for Detroit is lefty Tyler Alexander, who last pitched against Minnesota two weeks ago on July 23. He came in for Michael Pineda after the starter left the game with tightness in his right tricep. Alexander faced the minimum nine batters in three innings, but things imploded once he left the mound. Now back in the starting rotation, he’s hoping to find the same success he found against Minnesota in a longer outing.

He got a start against Toronto between these two meetings with the Twins, but he only made it through four innings and took the loss after surrendering three runs and striking out just one. Ks are not something you’re likely to see from Alexander all too often. His season high of four came in April against the Boston Red Sox, and he’s only amassed two in a game since then. With a 12.7% strikeout rate, it’s a good thing Alexander doesn’t do a ton of walking either. That number is an impressive 5.7% and he induces a ground ball just about as often as he does a fly ball, which helps when your fastball touched 92 mph at best.

For Minnesota, Joe Ryan will take the mound. He also pitched in that July 23 game between the two clubs, but he was the Twins’ starter and provided a quality start. Ryan lasted 5 23 innings against Detroit, striking out seven and allowing just one run to score. A heavy reliance on the changeup may have forced the Tigers to roll over on more than they normally would against a guy who can be considered a fly-ball pitcher.

Kody Clemens is getting the start at third today, and Akil Baddoo is getting another day off as he continues to slump. As far as we know, this is just to get guys some rest and their heads cleared, so nothing to worry about there.

During a season like this, it’s easy to give up as a fan, especially when the front office is causing so much frustration. Don’t. I know it’s year 43 of the 15th rebuild and there doesn’t seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel, but baseball is a game of failure.

Small victories down the stretch can go a long way. We’ve already been impressed with what young Riley Greene can do, and the bullpen was good enough to warrant all of the trade talk. With the deadline passed, it’s time to focus on winning games by any means necessary and getting the team some experience for next year. Maybe I’m being an optimist in a bleak situation, but that’s the burden of being a Tigers fan.

Now let’s see a series win against those Twinkies, huh?

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