Well, well, well Tigers fans… just when you thought Detroit was going to circle the toilet bowl as the regular season’s schedule empties out, AJ Hinch’s boys have got it goin’ these past couple of series against American League Wildcard hopefuls. First, the Motor City Kitties traveled to Baltimore to take two of three from the upstart Orioles before sweeping the Chicago White Sox out of their playoff hopes in the Windy City last weekend.
With ten games remaining in the 2022 campaign, the Tigers would have to lose eight of them to hit the century mark. A week ago, it felt like 100 losses was a forgone conclusion, but thanks to the recent hot streak it appears that the Tigers will avoid the ignominy of triple-digit defeats.
Next up on the docket is the first of the final three series for Detroit, this one back at the friendly confines of Comerica Park for a three-game set against AL Central rivals the Kansas City Royals. The two teams are in the battle for the bottom of their division with the Tigers sitting 2.5 games behind. Take a look at what is on tap for the next few days in the Motor City.
Detroit Tigers (60-92) vs. Kansas City Royals (63-90)
Times/Place: 6:40 p.m., 6:40 p.m., 1:10 p.m., Comerica Park
SB Nation Site: Royals Review
Media: Bally Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network
Game 153 Pitching Matchup
GAME 1: LHP Joey Wentz (2-2, 3.13 ERA) vs. RHP Zach Greinke (4-9, 4.21 ERA)
Royals pitch Zach Greinke continues to chug along, now wrapping up his 19th year in the majors — eight of which he has spent with the Royals. After beginning his career in Kansas City, which drafted him straight out of high school in the first round of the 2002 MLB draft, the 38-year-old has bounced around a bit, never quite reaching his 2009 Cy Young-winning peak but maintaining a high level of performance that will very likely earn him a Hall of Fame nod.
It should come as no surprise that the right-hander’s numbers are well below his career norms now that he is in the twilight of his career, but he still has managed to be serviceable for a bad KC squad. He has faced Detroit just once this year back on April 14, when the Tigers stole a 4-2 win in KC despite a 5 1⁄3 inning effort in which he allowed two runs on five hits and a walk while striking out a pair.
Game 154 Pitching Matchup
GAME 2: RHP Matt Manning (2-3, 3.43 ERA) vs. LHP Daniel Lynch (4-11, 5.06 ERA)
Daniel Lynch will take the mound on Wednesday as his second major-league season continues to wane. The 25-year-old’s sophomore effort has left something to be desired as he has matched his subpar output from last season but has managed to grind away some inning for a team that has struggled this summer.
The southpaw has faced the Tigers thrice this season, with him never getting past the fifth inning and his team losing two of those three meetings. The Royals won his first start against Detroit at home thanks to a mediocre four-inning effort on July 11 while dropping back-to-back starts earlier this month on the road and home, respectively. The last time he faced the Olde English D, he surrendered six runs (including two home runs) on 10 hits (no walks!) while striking out a pair over just 3 2⁄3 innings.
Game 155 Pitching Matchup
GAME 2: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (4-5, 4.37 ERA) vs. RHP Jonathan Heasley (4-8, 4.87 ERA)
Jonathan Heasley is the second second-year hurler to take the mound for the Royals this week. The 25-year-old’s story is somewhat similar to Lynch’s in that his 2022 campaign’s traditional stat lines are close to last year’s, except that the sample size has grown significantly in 2022. However, that is not exactly good news as the former 13th-round pick has put up negative fWAR so far.
Also like Lynch, the right-hander faced the Tigers in back-to-back matchups at the beginning of this month but with some different results. On September 3, he hurled seven innings of two-run ball on eight hits (including a home run) and two walks while striking out two to earn the win; on September 10 he lasted just four innings as Detroit poured on seven runs on seven hits (one home run) and a walk while striking out two for the loss.
Series Outlook: Tigers continue to roll
The Tigers are en fuego right now — maybe it is the Scott Harris effect, maybe it is that mojo the franchise found at the end of the 2003 season — but regardless of the cause this team is feeling it. Coming home hot to face a fellow bottom-dweller should open the gates for another series win, especially given the pitching matchups that are currently lined up. There is no reason to doubt the boys in the Olde English D now — expect the good guys to take at least two of three this week.