Do not look now, but the Detroit Tigers are suddenly a very watchable team after extending their winning streak to five games on Tuesday against the visiting Cleveland Guardians. Unfortunately, the Olde English D fell short in the final game Wednesday night but still had the game within reach until the final out. This is a brand of baseball the fans can easily get behind.
The Motor City Kitties now leave the comfortable confines (well, not that comfortable, as the weather demonstrated recently) of Comerica Park to take on the Baltimore Orioles in the quirky Camden Yards. The O’s have been cruising along so far to start the 2023 schedule and host the Tigers on the heels of a three-game winning streak that most recently included a two-game shutout sweep of the Washington Nationals this week.
Both teams are feeling pretty good about themselves but one of those trends has to give this weekend in Baltimore. Take a look at how the starting pitching matches up for the upcoming three-game set.
Detroit Tigers (7-10) vs. Baltimore Orioles (11-7)
Game 18 Pitching Matchup
Lorenzen’s debut with the Tigers was a forgettable one. The 31-year-old two-way player put up a stinker allowing six earned runs on eight hits (two home runs) and two walks while striking out six over four frames against the San Francisco Giants. The right-hander’s approach in Detroit was a bit different than last season, leaning primarily on his four-seamer instead of the sinker, remaining steady with his changeup use while apparently trashing the cutter. Mind you, this is based on a very small sample size so far.
Wells, who is now in his third season both in the majors and with the O’s, started the season with a five-inning shutout effort against the Texas Rangers before regressing a bit in his next two outings. Against the New York Yankees, he took the loss after surrendering four earned runs on six hits (two home runs) but no walks while striking out six. The 28-year-old then took a no-decision last time out after spinning 5 1⁄3 frames allowing three earned runs on five hits (one home run) and a walk while striking out three.
Starting the road trip with three in Baltimore. pic.twitter.com/zPg8oxMDqr— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) April 21, 2023
Game 19 Pitching Matchup
Wentz has had a bit of a yo-yo season so far, sandwiching a turd between a pair of solid outings. He took the loss in the opening series against the Tampa Bay Rays but suffered from a lack of offense before getting shellacked by Boston the next time out to the tune of five earned runs on a hit and four walks over just 1 2⁄3 innings. However, the 25-year-old bounced back against the Giants and threw a gem, making it through 5 2⁄3 innings allowing just one earned run on six hits (a solo home run) and a walk while striking out seven in the no-decision. The Tigers could certainly use another outing like that from the second-year lefty.
Gibson has been a workhorse for Baltimore in 2023, tossing at least five frames in each of his four starts to date. The 35-year-old veteran has a pair of quality starts to his name, throwing seven innings of two-run ball against the Rangers along with a one-run, 6 1/3-inning effort next time out against the Oakland Athletics. The 11th-year right-hander was tripped up his last time out, however, allowing four earned runs on seven hits (including a home run) and two walks while striking out one in the no-decision.
Game 20 Pitching Matchup
Game 20: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (1-2, 3.00 ERA) vs. RHP Grayson Rodriguez (0-0, 6.91 ERA)
Rodriguez was a late add to the weekend rotation.
Rodriguez is a highly-heralded rookie hurler drafted straight out of high school in the first round of the 2018 MLB draft. The 23-year-old spent the majority of his time in the minors among the top of the prospect lists, most recently coming in at No. 5 in MLB Pipeline’s 2023 rankings. The young gun gets by on an arsenal headlined by his electric 96.7 mph four-seam fastball (54.1%), followed by an 81.4 mph slider (22.5%), 83.3 mph changeup (21.5%), 89.1 mph cutter (7.6%) and 80.2 mph curveball (3.3%), according to Baseball Savant.
Series Outlook: Tigers keep it rolling in Charm City
In the previous preview, I upped the ante in regard to my request for this team to win more games. I began asking for just one win to prevent sweeps prior; that wish was granted. I turned the dial up a bit last time and asked for two... and they were received. There is no reason to get too greedy here, but if the team maintains its current intensity from the opening pitch to the final out, Detroit should be able to find a chink or three in the armor of the O’s starting pitching this weekend. If the bats can take advantage of their opportunities and the pitching staff is able to keep things close, well Tiger fans, it could be a fun weekend of baseball.