Well, here we are in yet another Detroit Tigers losing streak which has now stretched to six games after the Texas Rangers shut them out on Friday night in the second of a four-game weekend series. Tarik Skubal had his second-straight subpar start, giving up five runs over five innings for his fourth loss while the bats went limp... again. The loss was the fourth-straight game that the Motor City Kitties scored one run or less and the sixth in their last eight matchups. The offense has simply failed to warm up with the rising summer heat so far.
There is still a chance for the home team to force a split in the series, also snapping the streak in the process, and the prospects look somewhat positive for Saturday. The bad news is that the Tigers are not exactly sending the best they have to the mound — but times have been tough as the injury bug continues its attrition — while the good news is that the Rangers’ option is not exactly setting the league ablaze either. Take a look at what is in store for this afternoon.
Texas Rangers (31-33) at Detroit Tigers (24-40)
Time/Place: 4:10 p.m., Comerica Park
SB Nation site: Lone Star Ball
Media: Bally Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network
Pitching Matchup: RHP Rony García (0-2, 5.06 ERA) vs. LHP Taylor Hearn (4-4, 5.37 ERA)
Game 65 Pitching Matchup
Rony García got off to a great start this season out of the bullpen, from which he made his first eight appearances to the tune of a 2.57 ERA and 3.21 FIP over 14 innings to earn himself a spot on the big league roster. Since late May, however, the ongoing injury issue forced him into the starting rotation with limited success as the 24-year-old has struggled overall, registering a 7.00 ERA which appears to be due to a bit of bad luck (and small sample size) in comparison to his 4.91 FIP in 18 innings over four starts. He has also allowed a single home run in each of his last six appearances.
The international free agent signing out of the Dominican Republic has actually been decent in two of his four starts and his results appear to oscillate between good and bad. García’s first and third starts both saw his opponents held to just two runs, keeping the team in the game, while his second and fourth starts were ones to forget. According to that pattern, he is due for a solid start on Saturday.
Taylor Hearn was drafted by the Washington Nationals in the fifth round of the 2015 MLB draft out of Oklahoma Baptist but did not stick with his first franchise for long. Less than a year later, he was shipped to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Mark Melancon trade and then a couple of years later found himself with the Rangers after another swap in 2018. The following season, he made his major league debut but only registered 1⁄3 inning of work after getting hit around in that appearance. The left-hander looked solid in limited innings during the COVID campaign which earned him a spot on last year’s squad, for which he appeared to be a reliable innings-eater but nothing spectacular. So far this season, it looks to be more of the same.
The 27-year-old gets by on a five-pitch arsenal comprised of a four-seam fastball (94.3 mph), slider (83.9 mph), sinker (93.5 mph), changeup (87.6 mph) and cutter (88.6 mph), according to Baseball Savant, which he uses 42.4%, 25.6%, 17.6%, 10.6% and 3.8% of the time, respectively. Hearn has flip-flopped his slider and sinker usage this season in comparison to last, but the results have not produced much improvement.
Key Matchup: Tigers’ offense vs. Hearn
I have to be honest, I’m running out of things to say about this team’s offensive output. It certainly is offensive to our sensibilities that Detroit has not been able to manage more than a single run in six of its last eight games, and in the game they did happen to put up five, they still seized defeat from the jaws of victory (there is that 3-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays sandwiched in there as well). Texas’ Saturday starter seems ripe for the picking based on his profile, but as Tigers fans, we cannot take anything for granted. Fingers crossed that the pain ends today.