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Game 43 Preview: Please don’t get swept by the Twins

The Tigers will look to salvage one game on the road against first place Minnesota.

MLB: MAY 18 Tigers at Rays Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Tigers will look to avoid a sweep at the hands of Minnesota this afternoon after two disappointing losses in the Twin Cities. I’m going to be honest, it’s pretty late when I’m writing this so I’m going to make it quick and efficient, which apparently is how the Tigers are losing games.

The Tigers find themselves a half game back of the Royals in the Central Division standings for fourth place, and 12.5 games behind division leading Minnesota. Looking to salvage the final game of their road trip, Detroit will send Rony García to the mound who is apparently good now? It truly is amazing that the Tigers are missing an entire rotation worth of pitchers, and a pack of unripe rookies and depth pitchers like García are stepping up. It’d be more amazing were this leading to wins.

Because we know who isn’t stepping up..virtually everyone getting consistent at bats. Tuesday night the Tigers tallied a grand total of five hits and zero runs as they lost 2-0. They’ll go against Dylan Bundy on Wednesday afternoon, who has not been very good this year, but after getting carved up last Friday by a guy with an ERA above 8, I wouldn’t bet on the offense of the Tigers.

Detroit Tigers (14-28) vs. Minnesota Twins (27-16)

Time/Place: 1:10 p.m., Target Field
SB Nation site: Twinkie Town
Media: YouTube, Tigers Radio Network
Pitching Matchup: RHP Rony García (0-0, 2.57 ERA) vs. RHP Dylan Bundy (3-2, 5.14 ERA)

Game 43 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
García 14.0 33.0 5.9 3.20 0.1
Bundy 28.0 20.8 5.8 3.88 0.4

It’s interesting that both the Tigers and Twins have been considered surprises in 2022, but for totally different reasons. While improved going into the season, Minnesota was not picked by many to win the division despite some big moves. Yet they find themselves on top of the standings by 5.5 games as we head towards June. Detroit, on the other hand, was expected to improve but find themselves following a path eerily similar to 2021. We can only hope that the part where they play .500 ball the rest of the way comes to pass.

Both teams were also active in the shortstop market last offseason with the Tigers coming away with Javier Báez and the Twins coming away with former future Tiger, Carlos Correa. Correa signed a three year deal with an opt-out after the first year after complications around switching agencies, so he will most likely hit free agency following this season in the hopes of landing a deal north of 10 years, $300 million. Pretty hard to take that a division rival came away with the better shortstop on far shorter terms, even if their solution is only temporary.

While his power numbers haven’t come around — power across the league is down — Correa has been worth 119 wRC+ in 30 games this season which is a whole heckuva lot more than Báez at a mere 66 wRC+. Báez will probably get hot at some point and pump his numbers up, but the biggest free agent move in years for Detroit is a total flop so far.

But hey, let’s not just pick on Báez. He’s far from the only flop this season. It takes a strong group effort to put up a win-loss record like this. At least Miguel Cabrera is hitting above league average again and it has truly been a treat to watch his greatness late into his career. Jonathan Schoop and Spencer Torkelson have also shown signs of life at the plate as well, so that could be something.

On the pitching side, García has only made appearances out of the bullpen and is not stretched out to eat innings, so this will more than likely end up being a bullpen day. Garcia has been pitching well, showing better velocity and an improved breaking ball, so he stands a good chance of keeping the Tigers in the game.

Thankfully, the bullpen has been a bright spot this year so AJ Hinch will have quite a few solid options no matter when he needs to pull García. Maybe this will be the game the offense finally breaks out. If so, great! But in the likely event that doesn’t happen, the over-taxed pitching staff will have to hold down the Twins again to give the Tigers a shot at a win.

Key Matchup: Tigers fans vs. Trying to stream the game

If you’ve read this far, you saw that the game will be broadcast exclusively on YouTube today. For the section of the fanbase that maybe isn’t as tech savvy or enjoys simply turning on their cable boxes only for the channel to already be set to Bally Sports Detroit, this game should be a doozy to find. The game is free to stream on YouTube with no sign in required, and the YouTube app is available on all Android and Apple devices, as well as most — if not all from the last 3-5 years — smart TVs. Be sure to download the app prior to game time and search MLB Game of the Week. And although it might be harder to find, at least you don’t have to listen to the Bally Sports Detroit broadcast crew.