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Game 84 Preview: Tigers can make it seven in a row against ChiSox on Saturday

Detroit is on a roll against its AL Central foes, having won six in a row and going for seven on Saturday.

MLB: Game One-Cleveland Guardians at Detroit Tigers Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

In what has been a surprising turn of events over the past week, the struggling Detroit Tigers have turned things around and are currently riding a six-game winning streak after taking the second of a four-game weekend series from the Chicago White Sox on Friday night, 7-5. Tarik Skubal has something of a bounce-back effort and the bats remained hot, powering the visiting team to the fourth-best record in the majors over the last 10 games at 8-2, with the Houston Astros, Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Dodgers just a bit better at 9-1.

Can the good guys make it seven in a row on Saturday? They will have to do it with yet another rookie taking the bump for the Olde English D while the home team will send a veteran long in the tooth to the mound looking to snap the streak. Check out what the afternoon matinee has to offer below as the Tigers make their charge heading toward the All-Star break.

Detroit Tigers (36-47) at Chicago White Sox (39-43)

Time/Place: 2:10 p.m., Guaranteed Rate Field
SB Nation site: South Side Sox
Media: Bally Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network
Pitching Matchup: RHP Garrett Hill (1-0, 1.50 ERA) vs. RHP Johnny Cueto (2-4, 3.30 ERA)

Game 84 Pitching Matchups

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Hill 6.0 15.0 5.0 4.77 0.1
Cueto 60.0 19.6 7.3 4.40 0.4

Garrett Hill made his major league debut in the first game of the Fourth of July doubleheader on Monday against the Cleveland Guardians, tossing six strong innings of one-run ball on two hits and a walk while striking out three — the lone runner to cross the plate came on a solo home run. The Tigers held on for the 4-1 victory which kicked off their current winning streak while giving the fanbase yet another young hurler to drool over as the pitching pipeline continues to produce.

For those unfamiliar with the 26-year-old hurler’s arsenal, the former 26th-round pick out of San Diego State gets by on five pitches, headlined by a sinker (91.5 mph), a four-seam fastball (91.7 mph), changeup ( mph), cutter ( mph) and curveball ( mph), according to Baseball Savant, which he used 30.8%, 26.9%, 17.9%, 12.8% and 11.5%, respectively, in his debut appearance. Albeit in an extremely small sample size, Hill currently sits in the top 10% of the league in maximum exit velocity (103.6 mph).

Johnny Cueto has been kicking around the big leagues for a bit, now in his 15th season and his first in the Wind City. Originally signed as an international free agent by the Cincinnati Reds in 2004, the right-hander made his MLB debut at the tender age of 22 and spent seven seasons and change in the Queen City before heading off to Kansas City in a midsummer trade, where he earned a World Series ring in 2015. The native of the Dominican Republic then spent 2016 to 2021 with the San Francisco Giants before signing with the ChiSox as a free agent ahead of the 2022 campaign.

The 36-year-old’s pitching proclivities have been all over the place throughout his career, but this season Cueto has flashed a five-pitch palette featuring a sinker (91.4 mph), changeup (82.2 mph), slider (84 mph), cutter (86.8 mph) and four-seam fastball (91.5 mph), according to Baseball Savant which he employs at 26.9%, 23.5%, 23.2%, 13.7% and 12.6% clips, respectively; he also threw one curveball this season according to StatCast.

Key Matchup: Can Hill keep it going?

Is Hill the real deal? We will get a better idea on Saturday as he faces a White Sox team that is fifth in the majors in batting average — though the remainder of their offensive stats are rather mediocre. The greenhorn hurler looked dialed in last time out and gave his team exactly what it needed to start rolling along, and if he can replicate that effort again on Saturday, the Motor City Kitties could find themselves riding a seven-game winning streak.