The Detroit Tigers got a rough start on the month of July Friday night when they fell to the Chicago White Sox in a game that saw Casey Mize’s outing truncated due to innings count. The good guys held tough until the end when the bullpen turned a nail-biter into a laugher that concluded with a final score of 8-2 to drop the first of a three-game weekend series.
The Motor City Kitties have two more chances to enact their revenge, the first coming on Saturday afternoon as a pair of southpaws take the bump for the two respective teams. For the Tigers, they send their budding pitching prospect to the mound while the White Sox have an experienced hurler holding down the hill for them. Here is a look at the matchup on the mound.
Detroit Tigers (36-46) vs. Chicago White Sox (49-32)
Time/Place: 4:10 p.m. EDT, Comerica Park
SB Nation site: South Side Sox
Media: Bally Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network
Pitching Matchup: LHP Tarik Skubal (4-7, 4.06 ERA) vs. LHP Dallas Keuchel (6-2, 3.96 ERA)
Game 83 Pitching Matchup
Tarik Skubal has improved his performance as the season wears on and despite a couple of rough outings in April — the entire month was a bit of a rough stretch as he went 0-4 before the calendar flipped to May — his traditional numbers continue to get stronger and stronger. June was the most successful stretch of his young career, dropping his ERA to a more respectable 4.06 while turning in a pair of one-run gems in which he struck out 11 and nine batters, respectively. The left-hander’s best effort yet came in his last start against the Houston Astros in which he spun seven innings allowing just a run on one hit and three walks while striking out nine on 102 pitches for the no-decision.
The 24-year-old has faced the ChiSox twice this season, with the first of the aforementioned one-run games coming on June 5 when he threw five innings while allowing four hits and three walks while striking out a career-high 11 batters on 103 pitches for the win. His second outing against Chicago was the next one coming on June 11 in which he allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits, three walks and a home run while striking out six over 96 pitches for the no-decision. Recent history seems to suggest that the former 9th round draft pick has a handle on the AL Central leaders so far this season.
Opposite of Skubal is Dallas Keuchel, a grizzled veteran whose best years may have already passed but is still chugging away in the big leagues. The 33-year-old spent the majority of his career with the Houston Astros before spending a season with the Atlanta Braves; he is in his second year with the White Sox. Now in his tenth MLB campaign, he continues to get it done despite a pitching repertoire that tops out under 90 mph. However, he has managed to excel at inducing weak contact while also limiting his free passes. Here is a look at where he stands among his peers according to Baseball Savant.
The soft-tossing left-hander has faced the Tigers once this season back on June 4 in which he tossed five innings of two-run ball (one earned), allowing five hits, a walk and a dinger over 80 pitches for a no-decision in a game that ended up with a 9-8 score in favor of Chicago. Overall, June was his best month of the season, and much like Skubal, he appears to be finding his groove as the summer wears on.
Key Matchup: Tigers vs. soft-tossing lefty
It seems like low-velocity left-handed pitchers have been the bane of the Tigers offense for as long as we can remember and the team does not seem to have broken that trend yet. Not only does Keuchel fit that mold but the former Cy Young award winner also has the guile of a sage veteran pitcher who knows how to get the most out of his stuff. He has long passed his award-winning peak but is still perfectly capable of keeping an offense like the Tigers’ off balance, so it is imperative that the bats are patient with him today. Otherwise... well, we know how this movie usually ends.