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Detroit at Kansas City Preview: Casey Mize tries to secure series win vs. Royals

The Tigers dropped a tough one on Saturday but will regroup for the Sunday rubber match.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Seattle Mariners Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers’ four-game winning streak came to an end on Saturday at the hands of the Kansas City Royals, 7-5, in a game where Matthew Boyd did not quite have his regular stuff and the wrong team secured the Malek-Lite (scoring seven runs in a game). Sunday is a new day and the boys in the Olde English D get a chance to win their second-straight series if they can take the afternoon rubber match.

Two young pitchers take the hill for both squads in a matchup of potential future stars. For the Tigers, the crown jewel of the pitching prospects looks to build on a great outing last time while the Royals send in their youngster who has been riding a hot hand so far this season.

Detroit Tigers (18-27) at Kansas City Royals (21-23)

Time/Place: 2:10 p.m., Kauffman Stadium
SB Nation site: Royals Review
Media: Bally Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network
Pitching Matchup: RHP Casey Mize (3-3, 3.69 ERA) vs. LHP Kris Bubic (0-0, 0.96 ERA)

Game 47 Pitching Matchup

Pitcher IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Pitcher IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Turnbull 34.1 22 5.7 2.77 1.1
Hentges 15.1 19.7 11.8 7.19 -0.3

Casey Mize threw a gem last time out against the Seattle Mariners on May 17, logging his longest outing at 7 23 innings allowing just one run on three hits, three walks and a home run while striking out seven en route to his third win of the season. His performance was the continuation of a stretch of three-straight appearances in which he logged a quality start as he has looked better and better as the season wears on. While his FIP is rather bloated in comparison to his ERA, suggesting that he has been getting lucky, he has only given up a single home run in his last four starts, which bodes well for the former top draft pick.

On mound opposite of Mize is Kris Bubic, a first-round selection (supplemental round) in the same draft as the Tigers’ hurler. The 23-year-old has a simple repertoire: a 90.4 mph four-seam fastball that he uses 50.6 percent of the time; an 80.2 mph changeup he uses 36.4 percent of the time; a 79.1 mph curveball he uses 13 percent of the time. Despite an arsenal that is far from diverse, the left-hander has been getting it done in comparison to his peers, per Baseball Savant. Here is a look at his percentile rankings.

Baseball Savant

The last time Bubic faced the Tigers was two starts ago on May 13, when he spun five innings of no-run ball allowing three hits and four walks while striking out six. He was even better in his last outing against the Milwaukee Brewers, putting up his best performance so far by allowing just a single run and two walks over six innings while striking out four for his first quality start of 2021. This trend does not bode well for the Tigers.

Key Matchup: Harold Castro vs. Kris Bubic

As you can see in the graphic above, opponents are simply not hitting the ball hard against Bubic. But do you know who does not need hard contact to be productive? That is right, none other than Hittin’ Harold Castro. I have no clue if he will be in the starting lineup, but if there is any player in the batting order who can get under the Royals starter’s skin, it is our favorite light-hitting utility man.