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Series Preview: Tigers travel to Chicago to take on White Sox for 3-game set

Still licking their wounds after a week of attrition to the roster, Detroit looks to start June off strong.

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MLB: ALDS-Houston Astros at Chicago White Sox Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

It was a tough week for the Detroit Tigers, who dropped two of three at home against the Texas Rangers to wrap up the month of May. But it was not the losses that have the fanbase biting its nails — it was the loss of both Eduardo Rodriguez and Riley Greene to potentially long-term injuries right as the team started to coalesce.

With a massive hole both in the starting rotation as well as in the outfield, the Motor City Kitties must still trudge on as we round the one-third mark of the season. Perhaps a shrine for Jobu is in order...

Next up o the schedule are the Chicago White Sox, who host the Tigers at Guaranteed Rate Field for a three-game weekend series. Both teams have some question marks when it comes to the starting rotation so here is what we know heading into Friday night’s opener.

Detroit Tigers (26-28) at Chicago White Sox (23-35)

Times (EDT): Friday: 8:10 p.m.; Saturday: 2:10 p.m.; Sunday: 2:10 p.m.
Place: Guaranteed Rate Field, Chicago, Illinois
SB Nation Site: South Side Sox
Media: Bally Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network

Game 55 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Olson - - - - -
TBD - - - - -

Game 55: RHP Reese Olson (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. TBD

Olson makes his major league debut on Friday night against the ChiSox as the Tigers continue to hold their roster together with duct tape and super glue. The 23-year-old, who was drafted directly out of high school in the 2018 draft by the Milwaukee Brewers, arrived in Detroit via the Daniel Norris trade in July 2021, put up solid numbers at Double-A Erie last summer but has an ugly stat line at Triple-A Toledo this year due to a few bad outings early on. However, in his most recent minor league start, he tossed five frames of one-run ball, allowing four hits (including a solo home run) and no walks while striking out 10 batters. That is the kind of performance the Olde English D can use to open up the series.

Game 56 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Lorenzen 46.1 18.8 6.5 4.30 0.4
Cease 62.2 24.2 10.3 4.41 0.8

Game 56: RHP Michael Lorenzen (2-2, 3.50 ERA) vs. RHP Dylan Cease (3-3, 4.88 ERA)

Lorenzen’s last time out against Chicago — which was also his most recent start — the 31-year-old failed to figure in the decision but was an instrumental part of the team win that day. The right-hander allowed a pair of runs (neither earned) on two hits and a walk while striking out four over 6 23 innings. The quality start effort was his fourth of the season, all of which have come within his last five outings. Suddenly, the long-time relief pitcher finds himself thrust into the ace role in Detroit’s starting rotation and hopefully, he can keep this trend going for the rest of the summer.

Cease, on the other hand, faltered his last time out against the Motor City Kitties, allowing four runs on four hits (one home run) and four walks over four frames while striking out eight Tigers batters in the losing effort. That performance snapped a string of three-straight quality starts — out of five total so far — which hopefully threw the 27-year-old off his groove. Nonetheless, the matchup between him and Lorenzen represents the high-water mark of this weekend’s series.

Game 57 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
TBD - - - - -
Kopech 61.2 26.7 11.8 5.77 0.0

Game 57: TBD vs. Michael Kopech (3-5, 4.52 ERA)

Kopech has not seen the Tigers yet this season, one in which he has increased his strikeout numbers significantly over the previous campaign — but at a cost. While his walk numbers are about the same as in 2022 and his WHIP is only up 0.5 (1.19 vs. 1.25), his home runs per nine innings are almost double what it was (1.1 vs 2.0); even his 2.26 strikeout-to-walk ratio cannot cover up that blemish. Additionally, he is in the bottom 3rd percentile in maximum exit velocity and bottom 1st percentile in barrel percentage, according to Baseball Savant. A patient Tigers team might be able to gang up on him Sunday afternoon.

Series Outlook: Tigers need any wins they can get

Detroit was able to take three of four from the BadSox back home in Comerica Park, and despite being on the road, this is still the same lame team it saw just recently. The Tigers saw success last time that Lorenzen took the mound as well as when two of the named Chicago hurlers also made their starts. With a couple of TBDs sprinkled in there, there is no lack of uncertainty heading into the Windy City this weekend, but if AJ Hinch can continue to work his magic with this roster, the Olde English D should come out of the weekend just one game under .500.