Series Preview: Detroit Tigers host Baltimore for three-game weekend series

Bless You Boys

The Detroit Tigers bounced back beautifully against the Milwaukee Brewers in the Cream City this week, taking two of three on the road after getting swept out of Baltimore by the Orioles. The series opener snapped a four-game losing streak coming into the Monday while the second victory earned the Olde English D its fourth series win of the season. While the good guys did drop the final game against the Brew Crew on Wednesday, they are sitting at third in the American League Central division four games out of the lead.

I would say something like, “Not too shabby for this squad,” but the truth is, this division is just awful.

The Tigers get a chance at revenge for the sweep at the hands of the O’s this weekend starting on Thursday when they host their AL East opponents for a three-game set at Comerica Park. So far, Detroit has only one lonely win out of 12 games played against that division but the season is still young. Take a look at who will be manning the mound for both respective teams below.

Detroit Tigers (9-14) vs. Baltimore Orioles (16-8)

Times (EDT): Thursday: 6:40 p.m.; Friday: 6:40 p.m.; Saturday: 1:40 p.m.
Place: Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan
SB Nation Site: Camden Chat
Media: Bally Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network

Game 24 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Wentz 16.2 18.9 10.8 5.43 0.0
Gibson 30.0 19.6 7.7 4.22 0.2

Game 24: LHP Joey Wentz (0-3, 7.56 ERA) vs. RHP Kyle Gibson (4-0, 3.60 ERA)

Wentz has had a yo-yo-like start to the 2023 campaign, alternating good and bad starts in his four appearances so far. The 25-year-old’s best outing came against the San Francisco Giants in which he tossed 5 23 innings of one-run ball on six hits and a walk (one home run) and seven strikeouts to take the no-decision in a game the bullpen let go. However, his last start came against Baltimore on the road, who stung him to the tune of five runs on six hits and two walks (one home run) while striking out four over four frames. It should be noted that Wentz’s 1.6 home runs per nine innings are not helping his cause.

Gibson, on the other hand, has been consistently sailing through the schedule with three of his five outings resulting in a quality start and four of five earning the 35-year-old the win. The 11-year veteran’s best effort this season, in fact, came against the Tigers his last time out in which he surrendered a run (solo home run) on two hits and three walks while striking out 11 Detroit batters over 6 13 innings. Gibson also flirts with danger when it comes to the home run ball, surrendering 1.2 per nine innings, but seems to keep the bases clear ahead of the long ball.

Game 25 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Rodriguez (Tigers) 31.0 21.7 4.3 3.46 0.7
Rodriguez (O’s) 19.1 28.7 11.5 3.64 0.3

Game 25: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (0-0, 5.12 ERA) vs. RHP Grayson Rodriguez (1-2, 2.32 ERA)

Eduardo takes the mound for the Tigers in Friday night’s battle of the Rodriguezes riding high on his spectacular string of starts to open the season. After a 2022 campaign that was marred by a leave of absence as well as sub-par performance, the 30-year-old appears to be a man on a mission, putting up just one dud in five starts. Since allowing four runs in a loss to the Houston Astros, the left-hander has stymied opponents allowing just a single earned run on 12 hits and one walk over 21 frames while striking out 19. That stretch produced a 0.43 ERA compared to a 1.67 FIP as well as a .171 batting average and a .183 on-base percentage. If the veteran keeps this up, the fans can count on him either being traded or opting out after this season.

The younger Rodriguez has not been as steady in his rookie campaign so far, serving up 11 runs on 18 hits, seven walks and a pair of dingers while striking out 19 over 14 13 innings. Of course, in his most recent outing which came against the Tigers, he blanked the Motor City Kitties over five frames allowing five hits and three walks while striking out six. While the 23-year-old still has some work to do it is pretty clear that one of the top prospects in the majors has an electric arm.

Game 26 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Boyd 19.0 22.6 11.9 4.96 0.1
Kremer 24.2 17.9 6.6 6.57 -0.3

Game 26: LHP Matthew Boyd (1-1, 4.26 ERA) vs RHP Dean Kremer (2-0, 6.20 ERA)

Boyd continues to be who he is — a two-time-through-the-order starter who can give you a few good innings but will likely tax the bullpen later on. And he has been remarkably consistent at this point, providing at least 4 13 innings while maxing out at five innings in his four starts, giving up two runs in all but one that he allowed three in. The good news is that the 32-year-old looked solid against the Brewers his last time out, allowing two solo home runs among five hits plus a walk while striking out eight. The dingeritis seems to be returning, but at least it was only in the form of solo shots recently.

Kremer, now in his fourth year in the big leagues as well as with the Orioles, has struggled to regain his form from last season which saw him put up some tidy traditional numbers. The 27-year-old’s ERA through five starts is almost double what it was in 2022 due to his propensity for allowing four or more runs — which he has done four out of five starts — while being limited to five-plus frames. The lone outlier came against the Washington Nationals, in which he earned his lonely win after tossing 6 23 shut-down innings on four hits and no walks while striking out six.

Series Outlook: It’s time for revenge

The Tigers have managed to keep their heads above water pretty well early on, except against AL East opponents. The O’s are currently second place in that division, 3.5 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays, so they clearly have some beef. However, AJ Hinch’s squad really needs to snag at least one of these games to prevent another four-game losing streak and to also pay Baltimore back for the sweep last week. Sunday’s matchup might be the most favorable, but as we have seen, sometimes this team will surprise us.

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