Series Preview: Detroit Tigers host Texas Rangers for 4-game weekday set

Bless You Boys

The Detroit Tigers remain at home this week within the comfortable confines of Comerica Park after splitting a four-game series with the Minnesota Twins this weekend. AJ Hinch’s squad won the opening and closing games, while the team was swept on Saturday’s doubleheader; nonetheless, the Olde English D kept its winning record intact.

Next up are the Texas Rangers who arrive in town Monday for another four-game set in the D. The defending World Series winners bring a .500 mark into play as they have stumbled a bit out of the gate, as well as a couple of very familiar names to Tigers fans. The visitors are still a tough team to beat so the good guys will have their work cut out.

Take a look below at the pitching matchups lined up for this week — well, at least for Detroit.

Detroit Tigers (9-6) vs. Texas Rangers (8-8)

Times (ET): Monday: 6:40 p.m.; Tuesday: 1:10 p.m.;
Wednesday: 1:10 p.m.; Thursday: 1:10 p.m.
Place: Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan
SB Nation Site: Lone Star Ball
Media: Bally Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network

Game 16 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Olson 10.0 12.5 10.4 4.15 0.1
Lorenzen (2023) 153.0 17.8 7.5 4.46 1.7

Game 16: RHP Reese Olson (0-1, 5.40 ERA) vs. RHP Michael Lorenzen (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Olson’s results have been night and day in his two starts so far in 2024. The 24-year-old’s season debut against the New York Mets was solid, tossing 5 23 innings of shutout ball on three hits and two walks while striking out three. The next turn through the order against the Pittsburgh Pirates, however, was a stinker, coughing up six runs on nine hits and three walks while striking out three in 4 13 frames.

Lorenzen comes off the injured list on Monday evening to make his 2024 debut for the Rangers having arrived in Arlington as a free agent during the spring. The 32-year-old was shelved by a neck strain that also gave Texas an excuse to build up his pitch count in rehab starts before facing big-league hitting. Of course, Tigers fans remember him for his solid pitching for Detroit last season before being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies.

Game 17 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Mize 9.1 14.3 7.1 4.64 0.0

Game 17: RHP Casey Mize (0-0, 4.82 ERA) vs. TBD

Mize has been steady but not overly impressive in his first two outings of the season, but the important thing is that he gave his team a chance to win both of those appearances. The 26-year-old has been struggling with hard-hit balls, sitting in the bottom 2% of the league in exit velocity (94.6 mph) as well as the bottom 5% in max exit velocity (113.6 mph) and bottom 8% in hard-hit percentage (53.1%). The former top pick needs to induce softer contact if he is going to see improvements in his stats.

Game 18 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Skubal 17.1 30.8 6.2 3.13 0.4

Game 18: LHP Tarik Skubal (2-0, 2.08 ERA) vs. TBD

Skubal continues to prove that he is the ace of the Tigers’ staff with sparkling peripherals and mostly positive results. Two of the 27-year-old’s three starts have been scoreless efforts while the middle one saw him get tagged in the later innings, but his team earned victories in all of them. The southpaw is currently in the top 4 % of the league in hard-hit percentage (22.0%), as well as the top 5% in XWOBA (.200) and xERA (1.60), top 7% in exit velocity (83.6 mph), XBA (.155) and XWOBACON (.248), and top 8% in XSLG (.236).

Game 19 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Maeda 15.0 15.9 7.9 5.68 -0.1

Game 19: RHP Kenta Maeda (0-1, 6.00 ERA) vs. TBD

Maeda’s performance thus far has been quite underwhelming but his most recent start showed some signs of improvement. Most importantly, the 36-year-old managed to keep the ball in the yard for the first time this year in a six-inning quality start in which he gave up two runs (one earned) on five hits and no walks while striking out five. Another big key was his K:BB ratio, which was absolutely abysmal going into that game.

Series Outlook: Kick them when they’re down

The Tigers have another opportunity to take advantage of a good team dealing with injuries and other uncertainties. Texas only has a guy coming fresh off the IL slated for Monday and a bunch of question marks following. Certainly, this makes it a bit harder for Hinch and his staff to strategize ahead of time, it also suggests that the Rangers’ coaches are also dealing with some disarray. Anything less than splitting this series will be unacceptable.

Also, say hello to Wyatt Langford!

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