Series Preview: Detroit Tigers to play 4 games in 3 days vs Minnesota Twins at home

Bless You Boys

The Detroit Tigers return to the comfortable confines of Comerica Park this weekend to host the Minnesota Twins for a four-game American League Central tangle in the Motor City. The opener on Thursday afternoon was postponed due to inclement weather, resulting in a straight doubleheader on Saturday sandwiched between two single games.

So far, AJ Hinch’s squad is a perfect 3-0 against fellow division teams thanks to a three-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox on the road to open things up. The Twinkies are 2-3 against the same overall cohort after taking two of three from the Kansas City Royals in their season-opening series before dropping two to the Cleveland Guardians — the third of which was unsurprisingly postponed due to weather.

So this is a big series, Tigers fans! Winning the division title starts early with beating the teams you share a column with. Take a look below at what is lined up for the next few days.

Detroit Tigers (7-4) vs. Minnesota Twins (4-6)

Times (ET): Friday: 6:40 p.m.; Saturday: 1:10 p.m.; 40 minutes after; Sunday: 1:40 p.m.
Place: Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan
SB Nation Site: Twinkie Town
Media: Bally Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network

Game 12 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Skubal 12.1 32.6 4.3 3.38 0.2
López 12.2 18.8 2.1 3.06 0.3

Game 12: LHP Tarik Skubal (1-0, 2.92 ERA) vs. RHP Pablo López (1-1, 2.84 ERA)

Skubal has more or less picked up where he left off last season, although he got tagged in the later innings of his second start against the Athletics last week in the home opener. Nonetheless, his peripherals are sparkling and he currently sits in the top 10% of the league in expected batting average (.164) while among the top 6% in expected weighted on-base average (.208) and expected ERA (1.70).

López had a fine season debut against the Kansas City Royals, tossing seven frames of one-run ball with one hit (a solo home run), no walks and seven strikeouts for the winning decision. The 28-year-old was less fortunate the next time out, surrendering four runs on six hits and a walk while striking out two in 5 23 innings against the Guardians. Which version of him will the Tigers see?

Game 13 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Maeda 9.0 12.8 12.8 9.55 -0.3
Ryan 11.1 27.3 2.3 2.78 0.3

Game 13: RHP Kenta Maeda (0-0, ERA) vs. RHP Joe Ryan (0-1, 3.18 ERA)

Maeda takes the mound to face his old team after a pair of disappointing starts early on with his new franchise. The 36-year-old has been pummeled by the longball this season so far, having surrendered four already for an average of 4.0 home runs per nine innings. The veteran’s 1.56 WHIP certainly does not help things and combined with his abysmal strikeout rate, it has been a recipe for disaster so far for the former NPB standout.

Ryan is off to a solid start in his fourth big league campaign, having put together a pair of perfectly acceptable performances to open things up. The 27-year-old hurler threw 5 13 one-run innings against KC, allowing three hits and a walk plus five Ks before turning in a six-inning performance allowing three runs on five hits (one home run) while walking none and striking out seven. He took the loss in the latter game, which was technically a quality start.

Game 14 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR

Game 14: TBA vs. TBA

The pitching matchup for Saturday’s second leg of the doubleheader was not announced at the time of publication.

Game 15 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Flaherty 12.0 23.5 2.0 4.14 0.2
Ober 6.1 24.2 9.1 8.27 -0.2

Game 15: RHP Jack Flaherty (0-1, 5.25 ERA) vs. RHP Bailey Ober (0-1, 12.79 ERA)

Flaherty has produced some mixed results in his first two games wearing a Tigers uniform, starting off strong against the ChiSox with a six-inning effort in which he allowed just one run on four hits (plus a solo homer) while walking none and striking out seven to earn the team win. The second time out was a different story, dropping six runs on nine hits (one dinger) and a walk while striking out five over six frames against the A’s.

Ober was absolutely obliterated in his season debut, surrendering eight runs on nine hits (three home runs) and a walk while striking out one in just 1 13 innings of work. The 28-year-old rebounded the next time out, throwing five innings of one-run ball on three hits and two walks while striking out seven.

Series Outlook: Tigers need to beat fellow ALC teams

If Detroit is going to make a run for the Central crown this summer, it needs to earn as many wins as possible against fellow division teams to control its destiny. Minnesota might seem like they are down right now but there is plenty of baseball remaining on the schedule and every opportunity needs to be capitalized upon. Taking three of the four should not be out of the question, but the Tigers have to generate some offense if they want to get the job done.

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