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Tigers vs. Braves preview: Tigers face stiff test in Atlanta’s Mike Soroka

After the Tigers thumped the Braves in the first game of the series, the path to victory looks much tougher on Saturday.

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MLB: Atlanta Braves at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Tigers are on a three-game win streak. Harvest that feeling and tuck it away, because with the upcoming pitching matchup, it might not last much longer. Atlanta will trot out 6’5 Canadian righthander Mike Soroka for game two of their interleague series against Detroit on Saturday. The 21-year-old has built on his strong, albeit limited and injury-shortened action in 2018 by coming out of the gates this season with a 5-1 record and a sparkling 1.07 ERA and 420 ERA+. He boasts a 0.89 WHIP in 50 23 innings.

Soroka pairs a plus fastball with a strong changeup and slider, leading to strong strikeout numbers, at 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings. It is unlikely that he will face Miguel Cabrera, who was designated as day-to-day after leaving Friday’s game with right knee soreness, so that takes out one of the few major threats that the Tigers lineup possesses.

Fun fact: Soroka leads the MLB with seven hit batters, so look out, hitters.

Detroit Tigers (22-32) at Atlanta Braves (30-27)

Time/Place: 4:10 p.m., SunTrust Park
SB Nation site: Talking Chop
Media: Fox Sports Detroit, fuboTV, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network
Pitching Matchup: LHP Daniel Norris (2-3, 4.13 ERA) vs. RHP Mike Soroka (5-1, 1.07 ERA)

Game 56 Pitching Matchup

Pitcher IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Pitcher IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Norris 51.2 17.3 6.4 4.75 0.5
Soroka 50.2 22.4 7.3 2.89 1.4

Daniel Norris will have his work cut out for him on Saturday. The Braves are at their bests against lefties — their 109 wRC+ against southpaws ranks fifth among NL clubs — and though he has been strong in his last two outings, they were against the Miami Marlins and Baltimore Orioles. The Braves lineup figures to be one of, if not the toughest he has faced this season, and their wealth of quality right-handed hitters should prove tough for Norris to navigate.

Key Matchup: Jeimer Candelario vs himself

After being demoted to Triple-A Toledo following a 6-for-54 skid, Jeimer Candelario has yet to collect a base hit since being recalled earlier this week. While his numbers are better against right-handed pitchers than lefties, he is still only hitting .197 with a .596 OPS, and a 29.1 percent strikeout rate. While he would not be a popular “Pick the Stick” candidate if he gets the start on Saturday, it would be a massive slump-buster to break out against one of the game’s top pitchers this season.


Friday was fun, but with no Cabrera against a dominant pitcher, the outlook appears grim for the Tigers.