The Detroit Tigers got off to a rough start in their midweek series against the Chicago White Sox, getting knocked around to the tune of a 9-5 loss on Monday night. The home team was able to get out early against starter Lance Lynn, who was returning from the injured list, but the pitching staff failed to keep the visitors at bay. The good news is that the offense looked alive thanks to a three-hit performance by Harold Castro, as well as a pair of hits from three other players, with Willi Castro leading off the game with a dinger for one of his two.
Things will not get easier on Tuesday as the Sox send a talented hurler to the mound who has owned the Tigers over his career while a journeyman takes the bump for Detroit. Hold on to your hats, folks, this one could get ugly quick — take a look below at why it will be a tough one for the good guys.
Detroit Tigers (24-36) vs. Chicago White Sox (28-31)
Time/Place: 7:10 p.m., Comerica Park
SB Nation Site: South Side Sox
Media: Bally Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network
Pitching Matchup: RHP Drew Hutchison (0-3, 4.60 ERA) vs. Dylan Cease (4-3, 3.14 ERA)
Game 61 Pitching Matchup
Drew Hutchison gets the call back up from Toledo to give the Tigers a warm body in the rotation as the season of attrition continues — this time, Eduardo Rodriguez’s move to the restricted list on Monday further complicates an already chaotic roster. Clutch Hutch does deserve some credit, as he has provided a few quality innings this season in relief. However, a couple of bad outings in early May earned him a ticket to free agency but he turned around and re-signed back with the team less than a week later.
After a 2021 campaign that saw the 31-year-old start two of his 11 appearances, Hutchison has been fully relegated to the pen until Tuesday. His best outing came on April 16 when he threw three innings of shut-out ball against the Kansas City Royals, allowing a walk and a hit while striking out three to help the team earn the win. The right-hander's last start came on August 22, 2021, when he helped the Tigers prevail over the Toronto Blue Jays with a 4 1⁄3 inning effort in which he allowed an unearned run on four hits and a walk while striking out one. Detroit could really use an outing like that again.
Dylan Cease is a beast the Tigers simply cannot contain. Our colleague Brett Ballantini over at South Side Sox offered this not-so-fun factoid on Chicago’s Tuesday night starter.
Cease started 9-0 against the Tigers, which in all of team history is the longest unbeaten streak to start a career against a single team (Buehrle was 8-0 vs. the Rangers).
To be clear, Cease won his first eight starts against the Tigers before logging a no-decision in a team loss to Detroit in the final game of the 2021 season. His start on April 9 represented win No. 9... man this guy has Detroit’s number.
The 26-year-old’s arsenal pretty much matches last year’s both in pitch type and proclivity, as he comes in armed with a four-seam fastball (96.6 mph), slider (86.5 mph), curveball (80.1 mph) and changeup (77.3 mph), as well as a sinker (96.4 mph) that Statcast appears to be picking up this season, according to Baseball Savant. The former sixth-round pick straight out of high school leans mostly on his four-seamer and slider at 43.1% and 35.7% clips, respectively, while the curve sees usage 14.5% and his rarely used change at 4.9%; the sinker comes in at 1.8%.
How does that add up on the 2022 MLB Percentile Rankings? Take a look for yourself.
Key Matchup: Cease must cease
At some point, the streak has to end, right? The matchup on the mound is anything but encouraging for the Tigers but we have seen some weird outcomes this season in games where the Motor City Kitties looked overmatched. It will certainly take some sort of baseball mojo to put the Olde English D on top and hopefully, the baseball gods will not demand another sacrifice.