I think we can all agree that this has been a weird summer, to say the least, and seeing the Detroit Tigers a half-game out of first place in the American League Central standings behind the Minnesota Twins on August 1 certainly follows the trend. Yet here we are with a Tigers team that has been both fun to watch and encouraging in many aspects, especially the emergence of what appears to be a legitimate bullpen.
The Reds’ season has been quite the opposite so far, with the Tigers tormenting them for losses in three of their first four meetings this year, including a 7-2 victory last night behind another solid performance by Spencer Turnbull. Today they send their ace pitcher Trevor Bauer to the mound to stop the bleeding and prevent the Tigers from clinching another series victory in a game rescheduled to an earlier time due to inclement weather.
Cincinnati has a couple of old friends to keep an eye on in Nick Castellanos and Eugenio Suarez, with the former going 4-for-13 against his former team with a hit in each of their four matches this season, including two doubles, a walk, a run scored and an run batted in. The latter, on the other hand, has struggled so far this summer, managing only two hits in 27 at-bats and none against the team that infamously swapped him for Alfredo Simón.
Cincinnati Reds (2-5) at Detroit Tigers (5-3)
Time/Place: 1:10 pm, Comerica Park
SB Nation site: Red Reporter
Probables: RHP Trevor Bauer (0-0, 1.42 ERA) vs. RHP Michael Fulmer (0-0, 13.50 ERA)
Game 10 Pitching Matchup
Trevor Bauer does not require any introduction to the Detroit Tigers fan base after tormenting the team for years with the Cleveland Indians. The pain continued in his first outing of the season against the good guys, striking out 13 and allowing two hits and just one run on a solo home run by Niko Goodrum in 6 1⁄3 innings of work on July 26 — though late-inning heroics from newcomer C.J. Cron saved the day and secured the win for Detroit. Bauer will look to build on his performance against the same team, but this time in the more spacious confines of Comerica Park.
Key matchup: Fulmer vs. himself
Michael Fulmer’s first outing of the 2020 season was also the first time he stood on a major league mound since 2018, and the results were unsurprising given the long layoff. The former Rookie of the Year struggled in his debut appearance, allowing five hits, four runs — including three home runs — and a walk, along with a pair of strikeouts, in just 2 2⁄3 innings back on July 27. It was not quite the welcome back party that he had hoped for, but it’s also still very early and there is no urgency for him to suddenly catch fire.
If Fulmer can limit the longball, which should be a bit easier in Detroit than it was in Cincinnati, and grind out a few more innings he could find himself in position to carry his team to victory on Saturday and earn the Tigers their second series win of the 2020 season.