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Game 45 Preview: Tigers look for another win against Guardians

Having won its last two games, Detroit will try to start a true winning streak and go for No. 3 on Friday vs. Cleveland.

Detroit Tigers v Cleveland Guardians Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Happy days are here again for the Detroit Tigers, winners of their last two games after a walk-off single by none other than Miguel Cabrera, who continues to turn back the clock in what is appearing more and more to be a lost season, lifting his team to a 4-3 win on Thursday night. Tarik Skubal shook off the line drive he took to his shin recently and threw seven frames of three-run ball — all of which came in the third inning — as the Motor City Kitties took the opener of the four-game weekend series.

Friday night’s tangle in Motown features a rematch from five games ago, in which the Tigers emerged victorious thanks to some spectacular pitching and an offensive output that produced more than three runs — which seems to be Detroit’s magic number this season. Take a look below at the two hurlers who will toe the rubber opposite each other for the second time in less than a week.

Unfortunately, the weather did not want to cooperate on Friday night, and for the second time in less than a week, Faedo vs. Bieber gets delayed by a day.

Cleveland Guardians (18-22) vs. Detroit Tigers (16-28)

Time/Place: 7:10 p.m. 4:10 p.m., Comerica Park
SB Nation site: Covering the Corner
Media: Bally Sports Detroit, Fox Sports 1, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network
Pitching Matchup: RHP Alex Faedo (1-1, 3.00 ERA) vs. RHP Shane Bieber (1-3, 3.55 ERA)

Game 45 Pitching Preview

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Faedo 21.0 16.3 7.0 4.52 0.2
Bieber 45.2 24.1 7.3 3.25 0.8

Alex Faedo has been a pleasant surprise for a team that has been ravaged by the injury bug, especially among its starting pitchers. The former Florida Gator has given the Tigers at least five innings while allowing no more than two runs in all five of his starts so far. The right-hander’s last outing was the aforementioned meeting with Cleveland’s starter, in which he threw 5 13 innings, allowing two runs on six hits (one home run) and two walks while striking out two for his first career major league win.

The 26-year-old is still sticking with his three-pitch arsenal consisting of a four-seamer fastball (92.5 mph), slider (85.1 mph) and changeup (86.0 mph) which he uses respectively, according to Baseball Savant. While his overall results are extremely vanilla, his walk percentage lands at a solid 62nd on the 2022 MLB Percentile Rankings. Otherwise...

Baseball Savant

Shane Bieber took the L in that May 22 game, surrendering three runs (two earned) over seven strong frames in which he allowed six hits and two walks while striking out a season-high 10 Tigers with 106 pitches. It was the second time this season he has earned a loss when giving up three runs and the fourth time in eight starts that he allowed three or more opponents to cross the plate.

Just to recap, the 26-year-old gets by on a four-pitch-plus-one palette headlined by a slider (85.0 mph), four-seam fastball (90.7 mph), curveball (81.9 mph) and changeup (86.0 mph), plus a sparsely-used cutter (88.5 mph), according to Baseball Savant. As mentioned in the previous preview, the slider usage has been trending upwards the past few years while his curve has trended downwards, but he is still getting positive results.

Baseball Savant

Key Matchup: The duel on the mound

Last time around, the Tigers won the war against the former Cy Young winner. Can he do it again? That is the biggest question heading into Friday night — but this time Faedo will be on home turf. Given the results seen from the rookie right-hander so far this season, there is no reason to believe he will not go out and replicate his previous outing. But can the bats be relied upon to give him support? If Faedo’s two run-rule continues to hold true and Detroit’s three-run rule is also in play, Tigers fans could be looking at another winning streak and a guaranteed split of the weekend series.