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Game 102 Preview: Tigers look to take control in Great White North

Detroit evened up the four-game series on Friday night and have a chance to grab another W on Saturday.

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Detroit Tigers v Cleveland Guardians Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Detroit Tigers found their mojo on Friday night against the Toronto Blue Jays, scoring a 4-2 win on the road to even things up in the four-game weekend series. It looked like a severe mismatch on paper — as yesterday’s preview noted — but Bryan Garcia gave the good guys just enough to hand the game to the bullpen, which stymied the Jays’ bats and held on for the victory. Even more amazingly, the visitors’ offense came alive against one of the tougher pitchers in the league with Willi Castro leading the way with his second home run in as many games. Someone get the man some poutine!

There will be plenty of time for tasty Canadian foods, but first, the Tigers have two more to tangle with Toronto over. Yet another fill-in pitcher takes the bump for Detroit on Saturday while, yes, yet another stud Blue Jay defends his home turf on the hill. It is another mismatch on the mound, but with baseball being baseball, anything can happen. Here is what to expect for this afternoon’s matinee.

Detroit Tigers (41-60) at Toronto Blue Jays (55-45)

Time/Place: 3:07 p.m., Rogers Centre
SB Nation site: Blue Jay Banter
Media: Bally Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network
Pitching Matchup: RHP Drew Hutchison (1-4, 4.84 ERA) vs. RHP Ross Stripling (5-3, 3.10 ERA)

Game 102 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Hutchison 44.2 14.9 10.8 4.40 0.3
Stripling 78.1 19.6 4.7 3.11 1.7

Drew Hutchison continues to grind along since returning to assume a big league starting role back at the beginning of July. The 31-year-old has done a perfectly cromulent job eating innings for his team since then, posting a 4.87 ERA and 3.96 FIP over a stretch of 20 13 innings in which he allowed 22 hits and five walks plus a pair of dingers while striking out 12. The Tigers have won two of those four outings and he has been good for at least 4 13 innings, though the right-hander made it through at least five frames in his other three.

Ross Stripling faces Detroit for the second time this season on Saturday after locking horns in the Motor City back on June 12. The results from that matchup are not what the fans want to hear, but the 32-year-old tamed the Tigers that day, throwing six innings of shutout ball allowing just a single hit while striking out four en route to a 6-0 victory. The Olde English D faithful probably do not want to hear the next part either, but predictably, that was the veteran right-hander’s best performance of his 2022 campaign.

Key Matchup: Hutch has got to be clutch

Honestly, the key to this game is exactly the same as yesterday’s: Detroit’s fill-in starter needs to give his team some quality innings to keep things manageable until handing it over to the bullpen. Additionally, the offense has the tough task of breaking through against a pitcher who has already dominated them earlier this season. As demonstrated by yesterday’s results, however, the matchup on paper means zilch once the ball meets the leather, and if AJ Hinch’s squad can put together another solid team effort, the Tigers could clinch a split this afternoon.