clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Game 123 Preview: E-Rod returns to face Ohtani, looks to take series from Angels

The Tigers struck back on Saturday with a clutch win to even the weekend set.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Detroit Tigers evened up their weekend series with the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday afternoon with a clutch 4-3 win at home thanks to a quality start from Tyler Alexander and some timely hitting by the good guys. The victory was a great bounce back from the 1-0 shutout loss they took the night prior to open the three-game set.

The two teams will play in the rubber match for a Sunday matinee special to see who gets bragging rights, with the visitors sending out a front-runner for the American League Most Valuable Player award while the home team has a hurler taking the mound who has not seen major league action in a few months. Here is what is in store for today’s marquee event.

Detroit Tigers (46-76) vs. Los Angeles Angels (52-68)

Time/Place: 1:40 p.m., Comerica Park
SB Nation Site: Halos Heaven
Media: Bally Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network
Pitching Matchups: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (1-3, 4.38 ERA) vs. RHP Shohei Ohtani (10-7, 2.69 ERA)

Game 123 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Rodriguez 39.0 20.1 10.1 4.02 0.5
Ohtani 117.0 35.0 5.9 2.49 3.7

Eduardo Rodriguez makes his return to the big leagues after spending the majority of his 2022 campaign so far off the field. What began as a ribcage strain against the Tampa Bay Rays back on May 18 spiraled into a stint on the restricted list after a rehab assignment in early June. While a great deal of uncertainty still surrounds the situation, the reports are that a marital issue necessitated the left-hander’s time away from the game.

Regardless of why Detroit’s splashy free-agent signing was MIA most of this season, the 29-year-old’s return to the mound should be a welcomed event for Tigers fans. The five-year, $77MM contract he signed on November 16, 2021, looked like it would be another albatross around the franchise’s neck in a similar vein to Jordan Zimmermann at first, but the seven-year veteran will get another chance to regain the confidence of the fanbase as the schedule winds down.

Meanwhile, Shohei Ohtani has had one of the more impressive seasons in recent memory, raking at the plate and shutting down opponents on the mound with equal ferocity. The 28-year-old phenom from Japan gets his first shot at the Tigers this season as a pitcher after going 2-for-7 with a double and a walk along with four strikeouts at the plate over the past two games.

The right-hander has dominated his opponents thanks to a lush six-pitch arsenal led off by a slider (85.3 mph), four-seam fastball (97.3 mph), splitter (89.4 mph), curveball (78.2 mph), cutter (90.2 mph) and sinker (97.7 mph), which he uses 35.6%, 33%, 14.1%, 10.2%, 6.8% and 0.4% of the time, respectively, according to Baseball Savant. Here is how it all adds up in comparison to his peers.

Baseball Savant

Key Matchup: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

It is hard to feel good about today’s matchup, as one of the best in the game is pitted against one who has been away for a spell and also struggled when he was on the field. It could end up being one of those days where Tigers fans sit back and enjoy watching one of the best players on the planet perform... for the other team. Enjoy the national pastime while you can — before you know it, winter will be here once again.