The final series of the season is upon us. It has been quite a rollercoaster ride this summer for Tigers fans, ranging from a brutal losing stretch early to Miguel Cabrera’s historic home run chase during the dog days. The Major League Baseball season has always been a grind, and this one was no exception, but at least for the first time in years the fanbase has gotten a glimpse of the bright future that hopefully awaits the franchise.
In the meantime, the current campaign concludes in Chicago against one of the Olde English D’s most fierce rivals — the hated White Sox. Here is a look at what to expect Friday night as the two teams tangle in their final regular-season series.
Detroit Tigers (76-83) at. Chicago White Sox (91-68)
Time/Place: 8:10 p.m., Guaranteed Rate Field
SB Nation site: South Side Sox
Media: Bally Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network
Pitching Matchup: RHP Wily Peralta (4-4, 3.08 ERA) vs. RHP Lance Lynn (10-6, 2.72 ERA)
Game 160 Pitcher Preview
Wily Peralta has come a long way this season, starting off as a minor league signing in the spring before working his way up the ladder thanks to the vile injury bug. Say what you want about his peripherals — and there is a lot to say — but the 32-year-old filled in sufficiently for an ailing Tigers pitching staff and may have earned himself a spot on the team next year.
The veteran right-hander saw some ups and downs but he did manage to put together a strong September. Over five starts stretching over 25 2⁄3 innings, Detroit’s Dominican hurler put up a 1.75 ERA, 3.94 FIP and a 1.36 WHIP, striking out 16 along the way while surrendering just a single home run and hitting a batter; the Tigers won three of those five games. Though he showed improvement in preventing runners from crossing home plate, the ERA-to-FIP discrepancy still stands while his WHIP was actually higher than the rest of the entire season combined (1.29).
The ChiSox send to the mound Lance Lynn, who has been having one of the best seasons of his 10-year career in his first campaign on the south side. Despite his impressive 1.07 WHIP, the veteran right-hander also has a bit of a disagreement between his ERA and FIP that suggests he has been a bit lucky, plus an elevated home run rate, though the difference can be explained by his propensity for generally inducing soft contact. Baseball Savant’s MLB Percentiles chart does a good job illustrating this.
The 34-year-old has faced the Tigers twice this season, faring well in both battles. On June 3 he tossed six innings of one-run ball, allowing six hits — including a home run — and two walks while striking out six. Lynn followed that up on July 2 with another one-run effort, but this time he surrendered four hits and five walks while striking out nine; both games resulted in a win for the former first-round pick.
Key Matchup: Offense vs. Lynn
Lynn has handled Detroit well in his two outings prior and there is no reason to think he will not do so again. Alternatively, maybe the third time is the charm for the Tigers? At any rate, the Motor City Kitties are not going to win this one 1-0 so they need to go out and try to break through against Chicago’s pitching.