Series Preview: Tigers return to road to face Pittsburgh Pirates in midweek matchup

Bless You Boys

The Detroit Tigers hit the road once again after failing to defend their home turf from the visiting (former) Oakland Athletics this weekend, where they won the season home opener on Friday night but fell on Saturday and Sunday. AJ Hinch’s squad has no time to feel bad for themselves, however, as their upcoming opponent — the Pittsburgh Pirates — represents the team’s first true test of the 2024 campaign.

So far, the Bucs have won all three of their series after taking four to open the schedule against the Miami Marlins, followed by two of three at the Washington Nationals and the same back home against the Baltimore Orioles. They have been getting it done behind both hitting and pitching, so the Tigers have their work cut out.

Below is a look at the matchups for the upcoming pair of games played in PNC Park early this week.

Detroit Tigers (6-3) at Pittsburgh Pirates (8-2)

Times (ET): Monday: 6:40 p.m.; Tuesday: 12:35 p.m.
Place: PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
SB Nation Site: Bucs Dugout
Media: Bally Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network

Game 10 Pitching Matchups

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Olson 5.2 13.6 9.1 3.71 0.1
Keller 11.0 14.8 7.4 4.27 0.1

Game 10: RHP Reese Olson (0-0, 0.00) vs. RHP Mitch Keller (0-1, 6.55 ERA)

Olson had a solid start to his sophomore campaign first time out against the New York Mets, throwing 5 23 frames of three-hit, no-run ball while striking out three and walking two in a no-decision team win for the 24-year-old. His pitching arsenal consists of a changeup (87.1 mph, 28.8%), four-seam fastball (94.9 mph, 27.5%), sinker (94.9 mph, 20.0%), slider (85.3 mph, 16.3%) and curveball (79.9mph, 7.5%), which he employs respectively.

Keller’s pair of opening acts were not quite as smooth, lasting 5 23 and 5 13 innings, respectively, while allowing 10 runs on 15 hits (one home run) along with four walks while striking out eight. The 28-year-old is getting by with a six-pitch arsenal featuring a cutter (89.1 mph, 27.8%), four-seam fastball (94.0 mph, 26.0%), sweeper (82.9 mph, 20.1%), sinker (92.5 mph, 16.0%), curveball (78.6 mph, 7.1%) and changeup (90.1 mph, 3.0%), respectively.

Game 11 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Mize 4.1 19.0 9.5 3.41 0.1
Pérez 11.0 16.3 10.2 4.27 0.1

Game 11: RHP Casey Mize (0-0, 6.23 ERA) vs. LHP Martín Pérez (1-0, 2.45 ERA)

Mize finally returned to the major league mound in his first turn through the order against the Mets and unfortunately looked like someone who has not faced big league batters in a while, surrendering three runs on five hits and two walks while striking out four to help the team earn the victory. The 26-year-old flashed a pitching palette consisting of four pitches: four-seam fastball (94.8 mph, 39.1%), slider (84.9 mph, 33.3%), split-finger (85.4 mph, 24.1%) and knuckle curve (79.9 mph, 3.4%).

Lastly, there is 33-year-old veteran Pérez, who looked pretty tidy over his two appearances so far in 2024. He threw 4 13 innings of one-run ball against Miami before throwing 6 23 frames of two-run ball against the Nats — the latter earning him a win while the team also won the former. The southpaw has shown five preferred pitch types thus far, led off by his cutter (88.2 mph, 31.6%), followed by a sinker (90.9 mph, 31.0%), changeup (82.4 mph, 24.0%), curveball (78.1 mph, 11.1%) and four-seamer (89.5 mph, 2.3%).

Series Outlook: Please at least get a split

The series loss in the home opener to the lowly Athletics has left a sour taste in the fanbase’s mouth — but maybe it was because the first six victories were so sweet. Nonetheless, as pointed out in the previous preview, the schedule is not getting any easier for Detroit and the upcoming brutal barrage of opponents is likely to leave the team wishing they had capitalized in Comerica Park last weekend. Splitting a two-game midweek series with a contender like Pittsburgh would help right the ship early on.

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