Game 128 Preview: Detroit aims for series win deep in the heart of Texas

Bless You Boys

The Detroit Tigers evened up their three-game road series against the Texas Rangers on Saturday night with an offensive outburst behind a fine Eduardo Rodriguez performance to earn an 11-2 blowout win. Dallas Keutchel had no answers for the visitors’ offense led by Eric Haase and Jeimer Candelario, who both collected two hits — including a home run each — along with a trio of RBIs to lead the team to victory.

The good guys get a chance to close out the weekend set on a winning note on Sunday afternoon. The Motor City Kitties send out their trusty journeyman innings-eater while the home team has its Asian import heading to the bump to do battle. Take a look at what is on tap for today’s matinee affair.

Time/Place: 2:35 p.m., Globe Life Field
SB Nation Site: Lone Star Ball
Media: Bally Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network
Pitching Matchup: RHP Drew Hutchison (1-7, 4.06 ERA) vs. RHP Kohei Arihara (1-1, 2.31 ERA)

Game 128 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Hutchison 71.0 14.7 10.1 4.08 0.7
Arihara 11.2 18.4 6.1 3.98 0.1

Drew Hutchison continues to chug along this season at a 3.6 roentgen pace — not great, not terrible. The recently-turned-32-year-old, while never looking very sharp, has done a great job keeping the Tigers’ opponents at bay over the past two games, throwing 5 13 and 5 innings, respectively, allowing just a run. Unfortunately, his offense has not held up its end of the bargain, as Detroit went on to lose those games scoring just one run of their own.

On the hill opposite him is Kohei Arihara, a second-year major leaguer out of Japan who signed with the Rangers the day after Christmas in 2020. The 30-year-old played six years in the Nippon Professional Baseball organization, all with the Nippon-Ham Fighters, putting up a 3.65 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP over 882 innings. His numbers were not nearly as good in his MLB debut season, when he put up a 6.64 ERA and 1.43 WHIP over 40 23 innings, but has looked better in very limited action so far in 2023.

The right-hander possesses a vast six-pitch arsenal led by a cutter (87.7 mph), followed by a changeup (81.2 mph), sinker (90.6 mph), splitter (82.4 mph), slider (81.8 mph) and four-seam fastball (92.7 mph), which he uses 23.8%, 22%, 22%, 15.2%, 12.2% and 4.9% of the time, respectively, according to Baseball Savant. His repertoire is par for the course when it comes to starters from across the Pacific, but it seems to have mixed results for him so far States-side.

Key Matchup: Tigers offense vs. the six-run streak

Can the bats stay hot for another game? While landing a six-spot or more on the scoreboard does not guarantee a win, as the opening game of this series demonstrated, it sure as heck gives the team a better shot at winning for obvious reasons. Clutch Hutch is one of those hurlers that needs a little bit of cushion to work with, so if he can do his job while the bullpen stays steady, a series win is not out of the question if the offense stays alive.

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