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Game 93 Preview: Last gasp before the All-Star break for the Tigers

Detroit has lost eight of its last nine games but can at least end the first half on a high note with a Sunday win.

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MLB: Texas Rangers at Detroit Tigers Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers continued to stumble into the All-Star break on Saturday afternoon when the Cleveland Guardians routed them, 10-0, dropping their fourth-straight game and eighth of their last nine since the end of their six-game winning streak. Nothing went right for the visitors as Michael Pineda was pummelled while the bats were absolutely stymied by Cal Quantrill and Co., allowing the home team to clinch the four-game series victory in blowout style.

The Motor City Kitties get one last chance to enter the break on a high note on Sunday afternoon but it absolutely will not be an easy task for the good guys. They will have their Swiss Army pitcher on the mound to battle it out with one of the better hurlers in the majors this season. Take a look at who is slated to take the bump for both teams in the last game of the first half of the summer campaign.

Detroit Tigers (37-55) at Cleveland Guardians (46-44)

Time/Place: 1:40 p.m., Progressive Field
SB Nation Site: Covering the Corner
Media: Bally Sports Detroit, Fox Sports 1, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network
Pitching Matchups: LHP Tyler Alexander (2-3, 4.45 ERA) vs. RHP Shane Bieber (4-5, 3.24 ERA)

Game 93 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Alexander 30.1 13.7 6.1 4.43 0.1
Bieber 105.2 24.9 5.9 2.73 2.8

Tyler Alexander gets the nod for the first time since April 29 after beginning the 2022 campaign with four starts that did not go so well. The left-hander held his own in his first game of the season, tossing 5 13 innings of three-run ball for a no-decision in the team loss, but took a beating over the next three outings to earn three-straight losses and a ticket back to Toledo for a month and a half, after which he returned as a reliever. Overall as a starter this season, the former second-round pick has been bludgeoned to the tune of an 8.76 ERA and 6.03 FIP, allowing 17 hits and five walks along with three home runs while striking out nine in 12 13 innings. Yikes.

Shane Bieber has cruised along this summer, giving the Guardians plenty of quality innings while hanging around among the top 20 pitchers in the big leagues statistically. The 27-year-old is not quite at the level he was during his Cy Young campaign in 2020 but his traditional and peripheral numbers look just fine in his fifth major league season, and he has continued to torment the Tigers.

The right-hander has already faced Detroit thrice this season, taking the loss in the first matchup despite a three-run, seven-inning effort in Cleveland before bouncing back in his very next game with a one-run, eight-inning effort in the Motor City to earn the win in late May. Bieber’s last time out against the Tigers was not pretty, as he surrendered five runs on seven hits and three walks in just 5 23 innings to take the loss on July 6.

Key Matchup: Tigers vs. the win column

On paper, this one just does not look good for the Olde English D, with a pitcher on the mound who has struggled significantly in the starting role — even as an opener, his performances have been very disappointing. Not to mention that the Guardians have a hurler taking the bump who is very capable of silencing the cats’ bats... but also has been known to slip now and then. There is no real magical formula for today’s outcome, it really comes down to whether Alexander can execute and give his team some quality innings as well as if the offense can surge one last time heading into the break.

UPDATE: The game has been postponed