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Game 27 Preview: Tigers try to avoid getting swept by Astros

Having lost four in a row, including three-straight in Houston, Detroit needs to get something going.

Detroit Tigers v Houston Astros Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Tough times continued for the Detroit Tigers on Saturday, dropping their fourth-straight game and third in a row against the Houston Astros, 3-2, as the offense remains ice cold. The good guys did finally get an encouraging outing out of their big offseason free-agent acquisition, Eduardo Rodriguez, who spun 6 23 innings of one-run ball while striking out eight, but alas, the bullpen could not come through and the losing continued. Miguel Cabrera also belted his historic double No. 600 but it simply was not enough to outlast the Astros.

The Tigers get one last chance to make their mark in Houston before heading home to host the Oakland Athletics for yet another four-game series — including a doubleheader on Tuesday. But before we get ahead of ourselves, the ‘Stros will send a grizzled veteran to the mound to complete the sweep on Sunday while Detroit will have a bullpen day utilizing the opener strategy. Here is a look at how things will start out.

Detroit Tigers (8-18) at Houston Astros (17-11)

Time/Place: 2:05 p.m., Minute Maid Park
SB Nation Site: The Crawfish Boxes
Media: Bally Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network
Pitching Matchup: RHP Wily Peralta (0-0, 0.00) vs. RHP Jake Odorizzi (2-2, 4.15 ERA)

Game 27 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Peralta 8.1 29.4 11.8 2.12 0.1
Odorizzi 21.2 13.2 9.9 3.96 0.3

Wily Peralta gets his first start of the 2022 campaign after making six appearances in relief, allowing just a single unearned run along with six hits and four walks while striking out 10 over 8 23 innings of work. The 33-year-old has thrown his season-high of 38 pitches twice so far with none of his appearances lasting longer than a pair of frames, so it is quite clear that he will be assuming an opener role on Sunday. However, the 10-year-veteran started 18 of his 19 games for the Tigers in 2021, going 9-9 with a 3.12 ERA and 4.96 FIP over 92 13 effective innings from the Dominican, so opening the game on the hill is not unfamiliar to him.

Peralta possesses a four-pitch palette, according to Baseball Savant, which features his split-finger (82.2 mph), slider (82.7 mph), sinker (95.2 mph) and four-seam fastball (95.4 mph), which he seemingly uses backward at 32.9%, 32.2%, 22.4% and 12.6% clips, respectively. As a starter last season, his sinker and four-seamer were his primary offerings, so it would be reasonable to expect to see him revert to his old ways on Sunday.

Jake Odorizzi is in his second year wearing an Astros uniform after spending time with three other teams over the course of his career. The 32-year-old only tossed 7 13 innings with the Kansas City Royals before finding a good deal of success with the Tampa Bay Rays for the next five seasons. The former first-round pick by the Milwaukee Brewers then moved on to the Minnesota Twins, where he earned an All-Star appearance during his three-year stint before signing as a free agent in Houston in March 2021.

These days, the 11-year veteran gets by using a five-pitch arsenal headlined by his four-seam fastball (92 mph), cutter (87.8 mph), split-finger (85.5 mph), slider (81.9 mph) and curveball (72.7 mph), which he uses respectively, per Baseball Savant. The four-seamer sees action at a 52% clip while the cutter and splitter are thrown at 17% and 13.1%, respectively, while his other two offerings are essentially show-me pitches. The main changes in Odorizzi’s proclivities from last season are a significant reduction in splitter usage while the cutter has seen a bump upwards. Take a look below at how he compares to his peers.

Baseball Savant

Key Matchup: The three-run rule

It seems that the Tigers are currently cursed on this losing streak, having lost the last three games all by the same 3-2 score; in fact, the last game Detroit won was a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Usually, a bullpen day spells disaster for this team, but this season the relief corps for once appears to be a strength that can hopefully be taken advantage of. Baseball is as superstitious as any sport out there and it is hard not to get caught up with the numbers, but hear me out — if the Olde English D can plate more than a trio of baserunners today they just might escape with a lonely win, snapping the schneid and preventing an embarrassing sweep.