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Tigers vs. White Sox preview: Alex Faedo stands against the sweep

Can the Tigers offense heat up on a scorching hot day in Detroit?

Cleveland Guardians v Detroit Tigers Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

Another day, another powerless display from the Detroit Tigers’ offense. That will happen against the White Sox’s Dylan Cease, but it rarely seems to matter who the opposing day’s starter is, as the problems for the Tigers are all in their own clubhouse. Yet the season waits for no one, and they’ll be right back at it Wednesday afternoon on what promises to be a dangerously hot day.

Much of the Midwest will be under heat advisories today, as temperatures soar over 90 degrees. Drink plenty of water, folks. Having had heat stroke, I can tell you it sneaks up on otherwise healthy people really quickly and the situation can get dangerous in a hurry. Hydrate y’all!

Taking the mound for the Tigers will be rookie starter Alex Faedo, who continues to impress. Through seven starts, the 26-year-old right-hander has done a really nice job. The lack of strikeouts forecasts that his 2.92 ERA isn’t going to hold up without some further improvements, but Faedo’s composure and command have helped him to avoid big innings and keep his team close.

Detroit Tigers (24-37) vs. Chicago White Sox (29-31)

Time/Place: 1:10 p.m. EDT/Comerica Park

SB Nation Site: South Side Sox

Media: Bally Sports Detroit, MLB.tv, Tigers Radio Network

Pitching Matchup: RHP Alex Faedo (1-2, 2.92 ERA) vs TBD

Game 61 Pitching Matchup

Pitcher IP FIP K% BB% HR/9 fWAR
Pitcher IP FIP K% BB% HR/9 fWAR
Faedo 37.0 3.93 18.5 7.3 0.97 0.6

Looking through the contact data against Faedo, it’s certainly a bit surprising that he’s done as well as he has. A high fly ball rate and an average exit velocity against over 90 mph off the bat tend to be a scary combination, but he’s made it work by keeping contact in the center of the field for the most part. On the plus side, his overall hard-hit rate against is pretty low, and Faedo continues to get hitters off balance and unable to drive the ball for power. He also isn’t issuing many free passes, which is helping his cause considerably.

Faedo continues to throw mostly fastballs and sliders. His changeup has been effective in small doses to lefties, but he’s largely survived on good command of his 92.4 mph fastball, and his ability to vary the movement on his slider while still spotting it well in any count. He’s racking up whiffs 41.2 percent of the time on the slider, and that pitch, as expected throughout his minor league career, has carried him a long way.

At this point in a debacle of a season, watching for development from the younger players is the only big attraction. To date, Faedo has been one of the bright spots, but he still seems bound for a rough stretch if he can’t start racking up a few more strikeouts. Now 37 innings into his return from Tommy John surgery, we’re hoping for better fastball velocity as he continues to build arm strength and gain in confidence into the summer months. Otherwise, it’s difficult to see where a next step might come from. Perhaps improving the changeup to keep left-handers in check is another possibility.

Still, the feel for pitching and calm presence that Faedo has shown has been really impressive. The White Sox will be a tough test for him this afternoon, but the right-hander has handled every challenge so far and done so without the benefit of much run support. The Tigers’ staff writ large is getting a crash course in pitching without leads to work with.

Tigers vs. the White Sox bullpen

As of Tuesday night, we don’t have much of a read on who the White Sox will start, as they’re going with a bullpen game, and that crafty old Tony La Russa gives nothing away. Suffice it to say that after Lance Lynn and Dylan Cease, the Tigers' best chance to win was always going to be this game. Is today the day someone, anyone, finds their power stroke and takes advantage of a softer matchup? Has to happen sometime.