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Tigers vs. Rangers Preview: Matthew Boyd is fighting for an All-Star bid

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The Tigers southpaw looks to get back on track against Texas.

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Detroit Tigers v Atlanta Braves Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images

While the most interesting question surrounding Matthew Boyd — and maybe the entirety of the Tigers — is whether or not he will be traded over the next month, there is another uncertainty for the sharp lefty heading into July. The All-Star rosters are scheduled to be announced on Sunday, and there is a non-zero chance Boyd will hear his name called for the first time in his career.

The competition will be tough as always, and Detroit’s struggles in the standings might not help out much, but on numbers alone Boyd should get a shot. To start, his 3.61 ERA ranks 15th among qualified AL starters and his 3.38 FIP ranks eighth. However, it is his 30.1 percent strikeout rate (seventh in the AL) and 4.9 percent walk rate (fourth) that really stand out. These are easily career bests, and in his fourth full season he looks like a completely new pitcher.

What might hold Boyd out of the game is his last month, though. June has not been kind to him, as he has surrendered 15 earned runs over 22 innings. His strikeout and walk numbers have stayed excellent, and this is no different than a typical rough patch, but with the All-Star selection coming soon, as well as potential trade suitors, it would be great to end to the slide here.

Texas Rangers (43-36) at Detroit Tigers (26-48)

Time/Place: 7:10 p.m., Comerica Park
SB Nation site: Lone Star Ball
Media: Fox Sports Detroit, fuboTV, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network
Pitching Matchup: LHP Mike Minor (7-4, 2.52 ERA) vs. LHP Matthew Boyd (5-5, 3.61 ERA)

Game 76 Pitching Matchup

Pitcher IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Pitcher IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Minor 103.2 24.6 8.4 3.71 2.5
Boyd 94.2 30.1 4.9 3.38 2.6

Mike Minor was never too exciting of a pitcher in Atlanta, posting an ERA under 4.00 just once in five seasons as a starter. He then lost a couple seasons due to injury and had to reinvent himself a bit out of the Kansas City bullpen in 2017. His recovery worked, as he posted a 2.55 ERA with 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings with the Royals, and he earned a three-year deal with the Rangers.

After his injury, Minor saw his fastball velocity increase by over 4 mph, but his usage of the pitch dropped significantly as well. Over the past three years, he has utilized his slider at least 20 percent of the time, something he never did with Atlanta. Evidently these tweaks worked, and Minor is looking serviceable at the least.

2019 has been his best season to date, and his 2.52 ERA ranks second among qualified AL starters. He is one of the pitchers against whom Boyd is competing for an All-Star spot. Minor has the numbers to earn a selection, and frankly he has been a good story too. Against a scuffling Tigers lineup, expect more of the same from the revitalized veteran.

Key matchup: Boyd vs. bouncing back

The past four starts have not been great from Boyd, but since the strikeout and walk numbers are still there, this seems more like a small blip than a reason for panic. Texas has been a bit of a surprise this season, but the Rangers offense is still below average over the last two weeks. Boyd should be able to right the ship a bit.

Prediction

Both starting pitchers go deep, and it comes down to a bullpen meltdown by Detroit.