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Series Preview: Tigers host New York Mets for three-game midweek series

Coming off a four-game series with the Baltimore Orioles, Detroit now turns its attention to the visiting Mets.

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Los Angeles Dodgers v Detroit Tigers Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Detroit Tigers wrapped up April dropping three of four to the Baltimore Orioles in Comerica Park last weekend as the Motor City Kitties’ futility against the American League East division continues. This week, as the schedule flips to May, the Olde English D’s next opponent also makes a U-turn as the New York Mets arrive for a three-game set.

The upcoming docket includes two former Tigers who have maintained a high level of performance into their late-30s and early 40s in Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander, respectively. While the Mets are gonna Mets, these two prime-time hurlers anchor a rotation that has a good deal of potential while the rest of the roster includes plenty of notable names.

With all of that in mind, take a look below at the pitching matchups for the next three games in Detroit, which includes a must-see matchup on Thursday afternoon.

Detroit Tigers (10-17) vs. New York Mets (15-12)

Times (EDT): Tuesday: 6:40 p.m.; Wednesday: 6:40 p.m.; Thursday: 1:40 p.m.
Place: Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan
SB Nation Site: Amazin’ Avenue
Media: Bally Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network

Game 28 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Lorenzen 14.0 23.1 7.7 5.32 0.0
Lucchesi 12.1 25.5 8.5 3.47 0.3

Game 27: RHP Michael Lorenzen (0-1, 7.07 ERA) vs. LHP Joey Lucchesi (1-0, 2.19 ERA)

Lorenzen gets the call on Tuesday coming off a rough outing against the Milwaukee Brewers last time out, getting hammered to the tune of five earned runs on seven hits and two walks (one home run) while striking out five over five frames. It was a stark contrast to his previous outing in which he also threw five innings but kept the Baltimore Orioles at bay, shutting them out on three hits and a walk while striking out four. The 31-year-old has vacillated between strong and weak starts so far, with the trend calling for a standout performance against the Mets this time around.

Lucchesi gets his third start of the season this week as he continues his return from Tommy John surgery, which began with a seven-inning shutout effort against the San Francisco Giants but was tempered the next time out with a three-run effort in 5 13 innings against the Washington Nationals. The 29-year-old gets by on a three-pitch arsenal consisting of a sinker (89.7 mph, 51.6%), cutter (90.0 mph, 25.8%) and curveball (78.3 mph, 22.5%), which has seen an increased reliance on the sinker while employing the cutter much less; his curveball usage has remained static.

Game 29 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Wentz 22.1 20.8 9.4 4.55 0.2
Scherzer 19.1 22.1 11.7 5.72 0.1

Game 28: LHP Joey Wentz (0-3, 6.45 ERA) vs. RHP Max Scherzer (2-1, 3.72 ERA)

Wentz gets his sixth start of the season on Wednesday as he still seems to be finding his footing at the major league level. Basically, the 25-year-old has had two stinkers, one mediocre showing and a pair of decent outings — unfortunately for his traditional metrics, those two losses skewed his overall numbers. However, he has been unable to get past the fifth inning in all of his appearances, taxing the bullpen a bit more than one would like to see from a starter.

Scherzer needs no introduction to Tigers fans after spending seven seasons in the Motor City which included a Cy Young award in 2013. Once upon a time, folks were concerned with the veteran right-hander’s “violent” delivery, but it seems the joke is on them as he continues to churn out the innings. The 38-year-old’s 2023 campaign started off a bit bumpy but he has shut out the opposition in his last two starts. However, he was yanked after three innings in his last game for illegal use of rosin, which resulted in a 10-game suspension. His matchup against the Tigers is the first since the end of that suspension.

Game 30 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Rodriguez 36.2 21.9 5.1 3.74 0.7
Verlander (2022) 175.0 27.8 4.4 2.49 6.1

Game 29: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (2-2, 2.21 ERA) vs. RHP Justin Verlander (2022: 18-4, 1.75 ERA)

Rodriguez has been a delightful surprise for Detroit in the early goings, living up to his free-agency billing when the Tigers signed him ahead of the 2022 campaign. The 30-year-old’s first two starts left something to be desired but since his April 12 outing at the Toronto Blue Jays, he has been as lights out as he can be. If you Porcello out that pair of early outings, the veteran Venezuelan has put up a 0.68 ERA with a 2.42 FIP over 26 23 innings, allowing just two earned runs on 16 hits and three walks, surrendering a home run while striking out 24. The Tigers can use all he has because the de facto ace of the team will be facing none other than...

... Justin Verlander, who makes his return coming off yet another Cy Young award-winning season against his original franchise on Thursday. The 40-year-old (jeez man, way to make me feel old) future Hall of Famer sat out the first month of the season with a low strain in the teres major — a shoulder muscle near the joint that is part of the kinetic chain of arm movement. It is only fitting that the 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young winner makes his triumphant return in Comerica Park.

Series Outlook: This is gonna be a tough one for the Tigers

The Tigers are facing a pair of old friends this week who are sure-shots for the Hall of Fame, and even if they are a bit long in the tooth, Scherzer and Verlander continue to perform at a high level. None of the pitching matchups favor Detroit but Thursday’s clash on the mound could be a great one. Once again, all I am asking for is one win out of three — but that seems to be a tall order to fill.