Friday’s rains brought Saturday pains for the Minnesota Twins so far this weekend, as the Detroit Tigers took the first two of a three-game series in a doubleheader sweep to kick off the second half of the season. The good guys took the first match in a 1-0 seven-inning nail-biter while needing an extra frame to outlast the boys from the Twin Cities in Game 2 for a 5-4 walk-off win.
On Sunday, the Tigers have a chance to complete their revenge against the Twins for their series sweep heading into the All-Star break with one of their own. They will have to get it done behind a surprising veteran pitcher up against another grizzled veteran who has been lackluster in 2021, to say the least. Here is a look at the pitching matchups for today’s tangle on the baseball diamond.
Detroit Tigers (42-51) vs. Minnesota Twins (39-52)
Time/Place: 1:10 p.m., Comerica Park
SB Nation site: Twinkie Town
Media: Bally Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network
Pitching Matchup: RHP Wily Peralta (2-1, 2.08 ERA) vs. LHP J.A. Happ (5-4, 5.90 ERA)
Game 93 Pitching Preview
Wily Peralta has been one of the more pleasant surprises for the Tigers this season, joining the team on a minor league contract in the offseason and getting the call to the big leagues when the injury bug began biting at Detroit’s pitching staff. He has served admirably in his current role, getting shelled in his first start since 2017 back on June 19 before running off four starts in which he tossed 19 2⁄3 total innings over 318 pitches, allowing two runs (one earned) on nine hits, four walks and a home run while striking out 13 and hitting a batter. The 32-year-old put up a microscopic ERA of 0.46 and hitters slashed .134 BA/.194 OBP/.224 SLG over that stretch, along with a ludicrous .151 batting average on balls hit into play, while earning a pair of wins.
Less pleasant has been J.A. Happ’s season — his 15th in the majors — who is having the worst year of his career according to the traditional numbers. Save his debut season in which he threw just four innings for a double-digit ERA, the 38-year-old’s 5.90 ERA and 5.25 FIP are the highest he has ever had, while his 1.48 WHIP is the third-worst for him since 2008. He has consistently given up crooked numbers this year after an April in which he notched a 1.96 ERA over four games in 23 innings while winning two and losing none; since then, his ERA has been a bloated 7.43 while giving up a slash line of .336 BA/.384 OBP/.617 SLG along with 15 home runs over 12 games. It appears that Father Time is finally catching up to Happ in the twilight of his professional career.
Key Matchup: Detroit’s offense vs J.A. Happ
I do not know about you, but that section on Minnesota’s starter today has me salivating on behalf of the Tigers bats. The guy has simply not been getting it done of late and there is no reason to think he will suddenly come back to life in Detroit on Sunday, not to mention that the Olde English D has been finding ways to get it done at the plate in recent weeks. Pair that with another successful outing for Peralta and you have a recipe for a win and a series sweep for the beloved Motor City Kitties.