They say “better late than never” and one could make that argument for the Detroit Tigers, who are currently riding a six-game winning streak — all against American League Central opponents — and have also taken the last three series. After yet another season that has worn the fanbase’s patience thin, the Motor City Kitties have shown some fight as the regular season schedule continues to wane.
First, AJ Hinch’s crew took two of three from the Baltimore Orioles on the road before hopping over to the Windy City to sweep the Chicago White Sox. Not content with spoiling the bad Sox’s playoff aspirations, the boys in the Olde English D returned to their friendly confines to kick the Kansas City Royals into the division cellar. This weekend, the Tigers have another chance to spoil one of their rival’s final days of summer.
The Minnesota Twins arrive in town on Friday to face Detroit for a three-game weekend set. The visitors — much like the rest of the impotent AL Central — had an underwhelming campaign in 2022 after making a huge free agent splash with the signing of Carlos Correa. The home team has a chance to put salt on the wound the next few days with the following pitching matchups slated.
Detroit Tigers (63-92) vs. Minnesota Twins (76-80)
Times/Place: 7:10 p.m., 6:10 p.m., 12:10 p.m., Comerica Park
SB Nation Site: Twinkie Town
Media: Bally Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network
Game 156 Pitching Matchup
GAME 1: LHP Tyler Alexander (4-10, 4.68 ERA) vs. RHP Joe Ryan (12-8, 3.70 ERA)
Joe Ryan is wrapping up his sophomore season in the big leagues having stepped up from his rookie campaign with a full summer’s worth of work in 2022. The results have been impressive, as his traditional stats look solid while his advanced metrics also suggest that his performance is sustainable.
The 26-year-old has seen the Tigers thrice this year having limited the Tigers to one run or less in all three. The right-hander’s first meeting in Minneapolis saw him spin a seven-inning scoreless gem, allowing just a hit and a walk while striking out nine for the win. The next two times he faced Detroit, he allowed a run in each but was limited to 5 2⁄3 and five frames, respectively, in each; he notched a win in both of those as well.
Game 157 Pitching Matchup
GAME 2: RHP Drew Hutchison (3-9, 4.54 ERA) vs. RHP Dylan Bundy (8-8, 4.93 ERA)
Dylan Bundy is nearly two seasons separated from his 2020 campaign in which he landed ninth place in the Cy Young award vote, and while he has rebounded fairly well after a disastrous second year with the Los Angeles Dodgers last season, the 29-year-old still leaves a lot to be desired in his eighth major league season.
The right-hander faced the Tigers twice at the end of May in back-to-back appearances, taking a no-decision in both team losses in two very different performances. In the first game, he tossed 5 2⁄3 frames of one-run ball on five hits and a walk while striking out six; the second, he allowed four runs on nine hits (no walks) while striking out just three over six frames. He also surrendered a home run in both.
Game 158 Pitching Matchup
GAME 2: LHP Joey Wentz (2-2, 3.54) vs. TBD
Minnesota’s Sunday starter has yet to be determined at the time of publication.
Series Outlook: Tigers take another
Look, I cannot explain it but the Tigers have the ramma-jamma right now having won three-straight series including a pair of straight sweeps to make it a six-game winning streak. Two of those sweeps came against AL Central foes which make the wins even sweeter, and with another divisional rival on the docket, I do not see any reason why Detroit cannot make it three sweeps in a row. Is it asking too much after a summer of attrition to keep rolling into the season’s sunset? Absolutely not.