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Game 83 Preview: Can the Tigers continue the winning streak against Chicago?

Don’t look now but Detroit is riding high on a five-game winning streak heading into the weekend.

Kansas City Royals v Detroit Tigers Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

Believe it or not, the Detroit Tigers are currently riding a five-game win streak — all coming against American League Central opponents — heading into the weekend after taking the first game of the three-game series against the Chicago White Sox in the Windy City on Thursday night, 2-1. Beau Brieske was impressive once again and Javier Báez went yard to give the good guys the victory, keeping things going after sweeping the Cleveland Guardians at home during the week.

The Tigers can earn their sixth-straight W on Friday night and secure a split of their second-straight four-game series against the White Sox with their struggling ace heading to the mound to face one of the best that the South Siders have to offer, who has also been roughed up this year. Take a look below at what is on tap at Guaranteed Rate Field tonight.

Detroit Tigers (35-47) at Chicago White Sox (39-42)

Time/Place: 8:10 p.m., Guaranteed Rate Field
SB Nation site: South Side Sox
Media: Bally Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network
Pitching Matchup: LHP Tarik Skubal (5-7, 4.06 ERA) vs. RHP Lucas Giolito (5-4, 4.90 ERA)

Game 83 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Skubal 88.2 24.9 6.6 3.09 2.1
Giolito 75.1 27.3 8.9 4.52 0.5

Tarik Skubal has been struggling of late after coming out of the gates hot this season, at one point sitting second in the fWAR leaderboards with nearly three full runs of value over a replacement player. As Sir Isaac Newton once observed, what goes up must come down and unfortunately, that has applied to the former ninth-round pick as he has taken a whooping over his past five starts.

Prior to the beginning of his recent decline, the 25-year-old put together a 2.33 ERA and 2.07 FIP over 11 games stretching 65 23 innings in which he struck out 70 opponents to 10 walks while surrendering just three home runs. Since then, he has put up a gut-wrenching 9.00 ERA and 6.02 FIP during a five-start stretch that covered 23 innings, striking out 20 while walking 14 and giving up five home runs. The talented left-hander has been missing his spots and his opponents have made him pay.

Lucas Giolito has not exactly been setting the world on fire for the ChiSox either after putting together three straight campaigns that saw him finish among the top 10 in the Cy Young Award vote. After kicking off the 2022 season with an abbreviated four-inning start against the Tigers in which he held them scoreless, allowing just a hit and two walks in the overall losing effort, things just have not gone smoothly for the 27-year-old veteran. His numbers are the worst they have been since 2018 even though some of his peripherals still seem solid.

The right-hander appears to be getting things under control over the past couple of games, however, tossing six frames in both while allowing just three runs on nine hits and three walks while striking out 13 — good enough for a 2.25 ERA and 1.69 FIP over that stretch. That all came right after what was probably his worst outing of the season in which he was hammered by the Toronto Blue Jays to the tune of seven runs on 11 hits and a walk, surrendering a pair of dingers while striking out three. Which version of Giolito will show up on the mound Friday night?

Key Matchup: Skubal vs. the skid

The Tigers really need their de facto ace to rediscover his mojo given the attrition the pitching staff has dealt with this summer so far, especially with a packed stretch ahead of the All-Star break. Skubal needs to find a cure for the home run virus that seems to plague him when he struggles, which appears to simply come down to him not commanding his pitches like he had before. Considering that the White Sox’s starter is also dealing with some issues and the recent resurgence of the offense, the Motor City Kitties could very well make it six in a row and keep the good times rolling for the Olde English D.