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Game 66 Preview: Tigers out to split weekend series against Rangers

After a huge win on Saturday that saw Detroit put up 14 runs, the good guys look to seal the deal on Sunday.

Chicago White Sox v Detroit Tigers Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

Hot diggity dog! The Detroit Tigers offered a treat to the fans on Saturday in the form of an offensive onslaught against the Texas Rangers, earning a 14-7 win while snapping a six-game losing streak and salvaging a chance at splitting the four-game home series. Powered by the major league debut of Riley Greene, who became the first Tiger since Scott Livingstone in 1991 to get on base four times in their first game, Detroit notched a season-high in runs and extra-base hits while tying the high with three home runs. Or to put it in another frame, the Olde English D scored as many runs on Saturday as they have over its last nine games.

Let us just hope they did not spend all that offense on one game.

The 10-game-long homestand ends on Sunday, and hopefully, the good guys can salvage a split before hitting the road. They will have to earn that win behind another pitcher who has served mostly as a reliever but has been thrust into a starting role due to ye olde injury bug who goes up against a young hurler still finding his footing in the junior circuit. Take a look at what the brunch plate on Father’s Day has to offer.

Texas Rangers (31-34) at Detroit Tigers (25-40)

Time/Place: 1:40 p.m., Comerica Park
SB Nation site: Lone Star Ball
Media: Bally Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network
Pitching Matchup: RHP Drew Hutchison (1-4, 4.04 ERA) vs. RHP Dane Dunning (0-4, 4.58 ERA)

Game 66 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Hutchison 19.2 17.6 15.4 4.31 0.1
Dunning 71.1 22.1 7.8 3.73 0.9

Drew Hutchison did exactly what he was expected to do in his first start of the season against the Chicago White Sox back on June 14, throwing four innings of two-run ball on five hits and two walks while striking out one. It was the 31-year-old’s longest appearance of the season so far and he kept his team in the game over the first four frames but ultimately took his fourth loss of 2022 as the Tigers fell, 5-1. It is hard to expect much more out of the veteran journeyman and hopefully he can hold the fort down once again against Texas.

Dane Dunning was a first-round pick (No. 29 overall) by the Washington Nationals out of the University of Florida back in 2016. The right-hander did not last long in D.C., getting shipped out six months later along with Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez to the White Sox in the Adam Eaton trade. He made his major league debut in the Windy City during the 2020 COVID season, putting up a respectable 3.97 ERA, 3.99 FIP and 1.12 WHIP over 34 innings but found himself with the Rangers in 2021 as a result of the Lance Lynn trade.

The 27-year-old has yet to resurrect the success he found prior to his arrival in the Lone Star State but he still represents a fairly reliable innings-eater for the Rangers. Dunning gets by on a four-pitch arsenal headlined by his sinker (89.1 mph), which he uses 42.3% of the time, followed by a slider (78.0 mph), changeup (83.5 mph) and cutter (85.8 mph), according to Baseball Savant. The secondary pitches see usage of 28.6%, 21.8% and 6.8%, respectively. Statcast also picked up six pitches marked as a four-seam fastball (85.9 mph), but that seems more likely an error.

Despite being a soft-tossing righty, Dunning’s marks on the 2022 MLB Percentile Rankings are actually pretty decent — especially his chase rate, average exit velocity and barrel percentage.

Baseball Savant

Key Matchup: Keep the bats blazing

Hopefully, the Tigers did not dump all of their offensive output on one game yesterday and can ride that momentum into today’s game. The Rangers’ starter is not an overwhelming opponent, so with some patience, the bats should be able to keep things going. And they will need to because Clutch Hutch can only be counted on so much and the bullpen appears to be regressing back to the mean.