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Series Preview: Tigers set to host Chicago for three-game weekend series

Detroit plays a three-game series at home as the regular season continues to wind down.

MLB: Houston Astros at Detroit Tigers Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

It was not a fun week for the Detroit Tigers, who are now owners of a four-game losing streak after dropping the final game of their weekend series with the Kansas City Royals before getting swept at home by the Houston Astros. Staring yet another 100-loss season in the face, the Motor City Kitties need to find their mojo soon if they want to close out a brutal 2022 campaign on a high note.

In order to prevent crossing over the century mark, the good guys cannot lose more than 10 of their final 19 games, meaning that they need to start hauling in the wins at nearly a .500 clip. It certainly seems like a daunting task, especially with a schedule that has five of the final six opponents currently in the playoff hunt. Not encouraging at all.

Nonetheless, the Old English D returns to the field on Friday night after a breather on Thursday to host its intradivision rivals, the Chicago White Sox, for a three-game series. The ChiSox have had a rough season of their own after coming into the campaign with high expectations and are 6.5 games back in the wild-card hunt. Take a look below at a summary of what to expect this weekend.

Detroit Tigers (54-89) vs. Chicago White Sox (74-70)

Times/Place: 7:10 p.m., 6:10 p.m., 12:10 p.m., Comerica Park
SB Nation Site: South Side Sox
Media: Bally Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network
Pitching Matchups:

Game 144 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Manning 50.2 18.4 6.6 3.74 0.9
Giolito 139.0 25.3 8.6 4.20 1.3

GAME 1: RHP Matt Manning (2-2, 3.73 ERA) vs. RHP Lucas Giolito (10-9, 5.18 ERA)

Matt Manning, asides from his injury issues, has had himself a fine season in 2022 though he has tailed off a bit in his more recent starts. Last time out, the 24-year-old gave up three runs on three hits and a walk while striking out four over 6 13 innings to earn the win against the Kansas City Royals.

Lucas Giolito has put up his worst numbers since the 2018 season but has shown a minor bounce-back in his last two games. His most recent outing saw him take a no-decision in a team win over the Oakland Athletics, throwing six innings of three-run ball on five hits and two walks while striking out six.

Game 145 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Rodriguez 66.0 18.2 9.1 4.49 0.4
Cueto 139.2 15.4 5.4 3.95 1.9

GAME 2: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (3-5, 4.50 ERA) vs. RHP Johnny Cueto (7-8, 3.09 ERA)

Eduardo Rodriguez’s story has been a wild one this summer, but after a lengthy absence on the restricted list, the 29-year-old returned to give his team some much-needed innings. However, they have not exactly been quality innings. In his last start against the Houston Astros, he was pummeled for five runs on 10 hits and a walk while striking out just two over five frames en route to his fifth loss.

Johnny Cueto, on the other hand, has put together one of his better season performances in recent years in his first summer with the Windy City boys. However, his most recent outing against Oakland was not consistent with his general outcomes as he coughed up seven runs (five earned) on eight hits, including a home run, as well as a walk while striking out three over 4 23 frames.

Game 146 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Hutchison 91.1 14.6 9.0 4.62 0.3
Kopech 119.1 21.3 11.5 4.49 1.0

GAME 3: RHP Drew Hutchison (2-8, 4.24 ERA) vs. RHP Michael Kopech (5-9, 3.77 ERA)

Drew Hutchison has been a perfectly serviceable member of the Tigers’ pitching staff this year, effectively eating innings while generally keeping his team in the game. The 32-year-old failed at that task last time against the Astros, unfortunately, allowing four runs on nine hits (two home runs) but zero walks while striking out two over 5 13 innings, taking his eighth L of the summer.

Michael Kopech has put up some very solid numbers in his first full season as a starter for the White Sox as he continues to blossom into a formidable hurler. His win-loss count does not really tell the tale of the 26-year-old, as he has kept his opponents at bay consistently throughout the campaign. His most recent game against the Colorado Rockies resulted in a win thanks to five frames of two-run ball on three hits (one home run), no walks and three strikeouts.

Series outlook: Chicago delenda est

As noted in the introduction, the Tigers have a steep hill to climb to escape the ignominy of another 100-loss season and time is running out for them to seize a few wins. Of course, beating fellow American League Central peers is always an imperative regardless of the standings which make scoring a victory or two even more important. While the pitching matchups lean in favor of the ChiSox, Detroit has the home-field advantage, but who really knows how things might shake out? The gut feeling here is that we will know whether this is a 100-loss team or not by the end of Sunday.