The Detroit Tigers have been dragging since the start of August, having won just two out of their 10 games played this month after dropping the third and final matchup with the Cleveland Guardians on Thursday night in extra innings. A ninth-inning rally knotted things up after a decent start from Garrett Hill but the idiotic ghost runner rule came back to bite the good guys, giving the Guards a sweep and extending the team’s losing streak to four games.
The Motor City Kitties hit the road for a three-game weekend series against their American League Central rivals, the Chicago White Sox, starting on Friday night. The visitors send an old friend who recently returned to the fold out to the mound to battle with a young up-and-coming hurler who has put together a solid yet generally unremarkable campaign in 2022. Take a look at what is on tap for tonight.
Detroit Tigers (43-70) at Chicago White Sox (56-56)
Time/Place: 7:10 p.m., Guaranteed Rate Field
SB Nation site: South Side Sox
Media: Bally Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network
Pitching Matchup: LHP Daniel Norris (0-4, 6.90 ERA) vs. RHP Michael Kopech (4-8, 3.38 ERA)
Game 114 Pitching Matchup
Daniel Norris returns to the Tigers after getting shipped out to the Milwaukee Brewers in the Reese Olsen trade at last year’s deadline, after which he signed a free agent contract with the Chicago Cubs during the spring before getting released at the end of July. Detroit took a flier on their old friend, and after a trio of warmup appearances in Toledo, the 29-year-old southpaw is now set to make his first start wearing the Olde English D since August 2, 2020, when he was barraged by the Cincinnati Reds.
Michael Kopech faces Detroit for the third time this season on Friday night, having performed fairly well in his previous outings against Olde English D. The 26-year-old’s first start of the season came against the Tigers back on April 10, when he tossed four innings of one-run ball on two hits and two walks while striking out three. The second time he faced them came on July 10 when he threw 5 1⁄3 frames of two-run ball on four hits and three walks — plus a home run — while striking out four. The Sox won both of those affairs.
Key Matchup: Gotta get Norrissey goin’
Norris’ numbers are not pretty overall but he is sporting a sky-high strikeout rate, which is tempered by an elevated walk rate, unfortunately. From the looks of it, the Tigers should be able to put a few runs on the board in support of the Van Man but it is incumbent upon him to keep things close until he can hand the ball off to the bullpen. The veteran lefty did make one start this season for the Cubs but it was a stinker, giving up three runs without allowing a hit but walking three while striking out one in 1 1⁄3 innings. It seems unlikely that he goes deep into the game but just keeping the ship afloat is all we can ask of him today.