Series Preview: Detroit heads to Milwaukee looking to bounce back after sweep

Bless You Boys

The Detroit Tigers took a punch to the gut this weekend while on the road against the Baltimore Orioles, who swept all three games against the Motor City Kitties in the Charm City in their recent tangle. The string of losses now adds up to four straight for AJ Hinch’s squad which evens the pendulum swing of four straight wins prior to the schneid.

The good guys remain on the road for their three-game set with the Milwaukee Brewers in Miller Park this week starting Monday. The Brew Crew have been cruising along so far in the early going, though they did recently stumble against the Boston Red Sox at home dropping the weekend series two games to one. Prior to that, however, they took three of four from the San Diego Padres before sweeping the Seattle Mariners — both on the road.

Subsequently, Milwaukee is a half-game out of first place in the National League Central division behind the Pittsburgh Pirates. Not to mention, the Brewers are also the only team left in the big leagues that has not lost two games in a row.

So it appears the Tigers have a tall order on their plate heading into the week. Take a look below at how the pitching matchups align for both squads.

Detroit Tigers (7-13) vs. Milwaukee Brewers (15-7)

Times (EDT): Monday: 7:40 p.m.; Tuesday: 7:40 p.m.; Wednesday: 1:40 p.m.
Place: Miller Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
SB Nation Site: Brew Crew Ball
Media: Bally Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network

Game 21 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Boyd 14.0 17.5 14.3 4.64 0.1
Rea 10.2 19.0 7.1 4.20 0.1

Game 21: LHP Matthew Boyd (0-1, 4.50 ERA) vs. RHP Colin Rea (0-0, 4.22 ERA)

Meet the new Boyd, just like the old Boyd. The 32-year-old veteran has been very consistent this season in that he is good for three-plus innings of shut-down ball but the third time through the order continues to be the bane of his existence. The left-hander has done a decent job mitigating the long ball — another Achilles heel for him — allowing just one in 14 innings (0.6 per nine innings) so far, which is a staunch improvement on his Detroit highwater mark of 2.2 dingers per nine back in 2020. Boyd is relying upon his four-seamer a bit more than last year, but otherwise, his proclivities have not changed much.

Rea is a fifth-year hurler who was drafted in the 12th round of the 2011 MLB draft by the Padres who spent part of 2021 and all of the 2022 season with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in the Nippon Baseball League. Now back states-side with the Brew Crew — the team he was with before he crossed the Pacific — the 32-year-old has earned a starting role with two under his belt so far. He features a six-pitch arsenal that is headlined by his sinker (92.1 mph, 28.2%), cutter (87.0 mph, 26.9%), four-seam fastball (92.7 mph, 17.3%), sweeper (83.1 mph, 10.9%), curveball (79.4 mph, 10.3%) and splitter (85.7 mph, 6.4%), per Baseball Savant.

Game 22 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Turnbull 18.1 15.3 10.6 5.32 0.0
Lauer 23.0 20.4 8.6 5.57 0.0

Game 22: RHP Spencer Turnbull (1-3, 7.85 ERA) vs. LHP Eric Lauer (3-1, 4.30 ERA)

Turnbull gets another turn on the mound Tuesday after a solid 5 13 inning effort last time out against the Cleveland Guardians in which he surrendered three earned runs on three hits and three walks while striking out three (need I remind you that Three is the Magic Number) and allowing one home run. The 30-year-old right-hander’s rankings on Baseball Savant’s 2023 MLB Percentile Rankings are not terribly flattering, with the exception of fastball spin (79th percentile) and chase rate (69th percentile).

Lauer, now in his sixth major league season and fourth with the Brewers, is coming off a pair of really good campaigns, and save for one bad outing, appears to be finding that groove again in 2023. The 27-year-old has tossed at least five frames and allowed no more than two runs in three of his four starts so far, with the outlier coming in a four-inning effort against the St. Louis Cardinals in which he allowed six earned runs on seven hits and three walks (two home runs) while striking out four. He has improved significantly in his two appearances since.

Game 23 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Lorenzen 18.1 15.3 10.6 5.32 0.0
Peralta 22.2 23.7 9.3 3.65 0.5

Game 23: RHP Michael Lorenzen (0-0, 6.00 ERA) vs. RHP Freddy Peralta (2-2, 3.97 ERA)

Lorenzen has a nice bounce-back effort after a disastrous debut for Detroit, throwing five frames of scoreless ball on three hits and a walk while striking out four against Baltimore last Friday. The 31-year-old two-way player continued to lean primarily on his four-seamer instead of the sinker while remaining steady with his changeup use and employing a sweeper more than his standard slider. The right-hander’s fastball is one of the better ones in the game per Baseball Savant’s 2023 MLB Percentile Rankings, sitting in the 92nd percentile in fastball spin and 71st percentile in fastball velocity; he is also in the 64th percentile in strikeout percentage.

Sixth-year veteran Peralta takes the mound on Wednesday looking to bounce back from a pair of stinkers over his last two starts that saw him allow nine earned runs in 10 23 innings against the Padres and BoSox in which he gave up a combined 14 hits and three walks (two home runs — one each game) while striking out nine to account for his two losses on the season. Prior to that, however, he tossed a pair of six-plus inning gems allowing just one run on six hits and six walks while striking out 14. Which version of the 26-year-old righty will the Tigers see?

Series Outlook: Tigers need to get back on track

OK, so maybe I did get a little greedy in my last preview. Mea culpa, it will not happen again. But what I will do is take a step back to my previous request of winning at least one game to prevent the sweep — and in this case, to thwart the possibility of a seven-game losing streak. Milwaukee is currently 10th in the majors in OPS (.741) and sixth in ERA (3.47) while Detroit ranks 30th (.596) and 24th (.485), respectively, which doesn’t bode well for the Motor City Kitties. None of the pitching matchups look favorable for the Olde English D either, so someone is going to have to break out of the offensive funk and carry this team. Otherwise, we can look forward to a few more 3-1 losses.

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