Detroit Tigers (28-33) at Chicago Cubs (21-40)
Time/Place: 8:00 p.m., Wrigley Field
SB Nation Blog: Bleed Cubbie Blue
Pitching Matchup: Rick Porcello (3-4, 5.03 ERA) vs. Matt Garza (2-4, 3.99 ERA)
Garza hasn't pitched 7 innings or more since April due to a myriad of issues, but his last couple starts have been promising. He's pitched 6 innings in both starts, giving up just two runs apiece to the San Francisco Giants and Milwaukee Brewers. At home, Garza has been awesome: just 6 earned runs in 4 starts, with one home run allowed.
Garza hasn't been able to match the gaudy numbers he put up last season, and it's not even as close as it seems right now. His strikeout rate has dipped and his home run rate has skyrocketed. Here's the kicker though: his BABIP is nearly 60 points lower than it was last season, causing his FIP to be over a full run higher than the 2.95 he posted last year. Still, whatever Garza has lost from last season is better than most of what Porcello has had to offer in 2012.
Porcello was unimpressive in his last start, but I think a lot of fans would have felt better if he could have pitched another inning or two to deaden the blow of Joey Votto's three-run home run. He only threw 83 pitches and we only have National League baseball to blame for him being pulled. Expect something similar to happen today -- minus the big home run from an opposing slugger, hopefully -- unless the Tigers offense explodes early on.
Darwin Barney is your Tiger killer of the series. Don't pitch to him.
Todd Frazier sends his regards from Cincinnati.
Unless Garza throws a complete game -- which he's done against the Tigers before -- the Tigers know that they aren't out of anything in this series. The Cubs' bullpen is cream-filled-soft and prone to meltdowns at any given time. Hopefully they don't need any of this and get a strong performance out of both the offense and Porcello. With how Garza pitches against Detroit, I wouldn't expect a lot of runs early on. If Porcello can keep the Tigers close enough, they should be able to pull out a late win.
Rod Allen tries to top "splendiferous" at some point during the Fox broadcast and fails miserably.