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Game 76 Preview: Tigers look to bounce back against Royals on Saturday

Detroit dropped the opener of the weekend home series on Friday night but have a chance to enact revenge.

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Detroit Tigers v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

The Detroit Tigers’ weekend homestand against the Kansas City Royals got off to a sluggish start on Friday night despite Michael Pineda’s return to the starting rotation, giving the team some much-needed quality innings. Ultimately, the offense sputtered out once again and AJ Hinch’s squad took the 3-1 loss that also saw rookie Spencer Torkelson take a pitch to the helmet, hitting him on the right ear flap. Fortunately, he appeared to be ok.

Now the Motor City Kitties have a chance to even things up on Saturday afternoon against its AL Central rivals with a matchup on the mound that is rather interesting, to say the least. The two hurlers from each respective team are the same age and possess a great deal of potential, while also sporting some very similar stats that do not quite match their talent. Take a look below at who will face each other on the bump today.

Detroit Tigers (29-46) vs Kansas City Royals (28-47)

Time/Place: 4:10 p.m. Comerica Park
SB Nation Site: Royals Review
Media: Bally Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network
Pitching Matchup: RHP Beau Brieske (1-6, 4.55 ERA) vs. LHP Kris Bubic (1-5, 7.45 ERA)

Game 76 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Brieske 63.1 16.2 7.5 5.59 -0.2
Bubic 38.2 17.9 12.5 5.56 -0.2

Beau Brieske has been taking a beating of late, getting tagged for four runs in five innings a couple of starts ago against the Boston Red Sox to earn the loss while earning a no-decision in a five-run shellacking in just 3 23 frames of his most recent outing against the Arizona Diamondbacks; of course, he surrendered a home run in each of those games. The whoopings came on the heels of a two-game scoreless streak for the 24-year-old in which he threw 12 23 innings allowing 10 hits and two walks while striking out eight. In fact, the second game of that stretch was his best so far, tossing seven shutout innings on three hits and two walks while striking out six Texas Rangers batters. Hopefully, the pendulum swings back in the right-hander’s favor against the Royals.

Speaking of Kansas City, their starter Kris Bubic has become a familiar name to Tigers fans despite also still being a ripe 24 years old. Now in his third year of big-league action after being selected 40th overall out of Stanford in the 2018 MLB draft, the left-hander has struggled through his 2022 campaign putting up some of the worst numbers in his young career. Why is such a young, unproven pitcher so familiar to those loyal to the Olde English D? He has a penchant for antagonizing the Tigers over his short career.

While Detroit managed to batter Bubic the first time he faced the franchise back in 2020, he tormented the Tigers in his second season, allowing just three runs over a four-game stretch that covered 23 innings, surrendering just one home run while striking out 17 to help the Royals win three of those four matchups. He has faced Detroit once this season back on April 16 in KC and threw 4 13 innings of one-run ball allowing two hits but an ugly six walks en route to a win for the home team. His stats do not look great against other teams but Bubic seems to have the Tigers’ number at times.

Key Matchup: The battle of the 24-year-olds

What it boils down to on Saturday afternoon is which young hurler gets the upper hand. In one corner, we have Brieske who should fare well against an offense that is not nearly as bad as the Tigers’ but still is not much to write home about, and could really use a bounce-back effort. In the other corner, we have a struggling Bubic who seems to bring his A-game whenever he faces the Tigers. We will find out what happens when a stoppable force meets a movable object as the two lock horns in Comerica Park.