Series Preview: Tigers host Chicago White Sox for four-game weekend set

Bless You Boys

The Detroit Tigers return home to the comfortable confines of Comerica Park this weekend after breaking even on a six-game road trip that saw them face the Washington Nationals — a series they dropped, 2-1 — as well as the Kansas City Royals — who they took the series from, 2-1. As a result, the Motor City Kitties remain firmly in second place in the American League Central division 2.5 games behind the Minnesota Twins and two games ahead of the third-place Cleveland Guardians.

The fourth-place team in the division, the Chicago White Sox, come into town on Thursday to kick off a four-game weekend set in the Motor City. Chicago is just a game behind Cleveland and 5.5 games out of first place after 51 games played, which is probably not what a lot of fans expected. The Sox are a paltry 9-17 when playing away from Guaranteed Rate Field, so the Tigers seemingly have a bit of an advantage on their home grass.

Take a look below at the pitching matchups for the upcoming series between the Tigers and ChiSox, with one player still to be determined.

Detroit Tigers (22-25) vs. Chicago White Sox (21-30)

Times (EDT): Thursday: 6:40 p.m.; Friday: 6:40 p.m.; Saturday: 1:10 p.m.; Sunday: 1:40 p.m.
Place: Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan
SB Nation Site: South Side Sox
Media: Bally Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network

Game 48 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Faedo 15.2 19.7 1.6 6.09 -0.1
Giolito 59.2 24.4 4.9 3.81 1.2

Game 48: RHP Alex Faedo (0-2, 4.60 ERA) vs. RHP Lucas Giolito (3-3, 3.62 ERA)

Through three starts in 2023, Faedo has surrendered a trio of runs in each of his appearances — although one of those was still just enough to earn a quality start. In the shutout loss to the Seattle Mariners on May 13, the 27-year-old made it through six innings allowing three earned runs on four hits (two home runs) and a walk while striking out seven. The former Gator’s 2.9 home runs per nine innings are something that must be addressed if he is going to take the next step.

Giolito is putting together yet another fine season on the mound, with numbers that are actually improved over last season’s slump that followed three-straight Cy Young vote-getting campaigns. This will be his first appearance against Detroit this summer but last season the Tigers were able to get to him rather regularly. Hopefully, that will be the case again on Thursday.

Game 49 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Wentz 38.2 17.6 8.0 5.79 -0.2
Lynn 57.1 26.5 7.5 4.71 0.6

Game 49: LHP Joey Wentz (1-4, 7.45 ERA) vs. RHP Lance Lynn (3-5, 6.28 ERA)

Wentz has been a major disappointment for the Motor City Kitties this season as he continues to struggle to find his footing. While there is an appreciable gap between his ERA and FIP, his obese 1.63 WHIP and 2.1 home runs per nine innings are just not getting the job done. Both of his last two starts have been terrible, combining for just 4 23 inning pitched while allowing nine earned runs on 16 hits and a walk while striking out four and serving up a pair of dingers. Not great, Bob!

Lynn, who is now in his 12th major league season, has seen some sharp regression in his 10 games so far. After three-straight years of earning Cy Young votes, the 36-year-old still had a solid campaign last year but the same cannot be said of 2023. The veteran right-hander’s best outing of the spring came two games ago against Cleveland, in which he allowed three runs (one earned) on seven hits and no walks while striking out seven over seven frames.

Game 50 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Lorenzen 39.2 19.0 6.7 4.59 0.2

Game 50: RHP Michael Lorenzen (2-2, 4.08 ERA) vs. TBD

After three-straight superlative starts, Lorenzen returned to earth last time out against the Royals, who battered him for five runs on five hits (THREE home runs) and two walks while striking out five over 5 23 innings. That snapped a run of 20 innings pitched in which just two earned runs were scored (0.90 ERA), allowing 14 hits and four walks while striking out 11. The Tigers could really use a return to his former form from the 31-year-old.

Game 51 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Rodriguez 61.2 25.5 5.9 3.03 1.6
Cease 58.2 23.0 9.6 4.32 0.8

Game 51: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (4-4, 2.19 ERA) vs. RHP Dylan Cease (3-3, 4.60 ERA)

Speaking of falling back to earth, Rodriguez has also seen some regression recently. After a spectacular six-game stretch, the 30-year-old’s last two outings were pretty mediocre. The southpaw’s combined numbers — throwing exactly five frames in both games — over that stretch is a 5.40 ERA thanks to six of eight runs scored being of the earned variety, allowing 14 hits and four walks plus a home run while striking out 14 over 10 innings. That is just not going to cut it for the Olde English D.

Opposite him in Sunday’s marquee matchup is Cease, a 27-year-old now in his fifth major league season. His numbers so far are among his worst since his rookie campaign and a far cry from his performance last season that earned him Cy Young and MVP votes. However, the right-hander appears to have turned a corner recently, logging three-straight quality starts but just one win to show for it. If he continues that trend, it could be a rough day for Detroit.

Series Outlook: Another must-win series

The Tigers took two of three from the bottom-dwelling Royals and should be able to take three of four from the Bad Sox. The pitching matchups are pretty much up in the air — though Sunday’s ticket looks like a good one — so anything can happen. Both teams are among the five-worst in OPS and on-base percentage, though Chicago is ranked No. 20 in batting average (.239). Nonetheless, neither team is a major threat at the plate and both have some iffy starters taking the mound so something will have to give.

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