Welcome back from the All-Star break, Detroit Tigers fans!
The Motor City Kitties entered the midseason pause third place in the American League Central division at 11 games under .500 but only 5.5 games behind the first-place Cleveland Guardians. Right behind them is the Minnesota Twins, who have led the division for most of the season but currently sit a half-game out of the top perch.
During the summer classic, the Olde English D was represented by starting pitcher Michael Lorenzen, who is slated to appear in this weekend’s series. Speaking of the All-Star Game, the right-hander tossed 2⁄3 innings allowing a hit and a walk while striking out a batter. He will not have to go anywhere for his team’s next series, which comes on the road against the Seattle Mariners — the host of this year’s All-Star events — starting on Friday night.
Take a look below at the pitching matchups as both teams return to action in the Emerald City.
Detroit Tigers (39-50) at Seattle Mariners (45-44)
Times (EDT): Friday: 10:10 p.m.; Saturday: 9:40 p.m.; Sunday: 4:10 p.m.
Place: T-Mobile Park, Seattle, Washington
SB Nation Site: Lookout Landing
Media: Bally Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network
Game 90 Pitching Matchup
Rodriguez takes the bump to kick off the second half for the Tigers in his second game back from a finger injury that sidelined him for five weeks. After going on a tear from mid-April to mid-May, the 30-year-old regressed a bit before hitting the injured list. In the lone game since his return, he still looked a bit rusty surrendering five runs on six hits (two home runs) and no walks while striking out seven over four innings in a home loss against the Oakland A’s.
Castillo is having a fine season once again in his seventh MLB campaign which earned him an All-Star appearance this summer. The 30-year-old has made two prior ASG rosters and has posted a sub-three ERA in three of his past four seasons. While his home runs per nine (1.3) are nearly at the highest rate of his career, his WHIP (1.04) sits at the lowest of his MLB tenure.
Game 91 Pitching Matchup
Lorenzen comes off his ASG appearance on Saturday looking to earn the win for his team. The 31-year-old has not exactly had an All-Star level season this summer but has nonetheless been a key cog in the Tigers’ starting rotation after the injury bug attrition. His last game before the break was solid, shutting out the A’s over five frames on three hits and no walks while striking out four. A repeat of that effort could go a long way for Detroit.
Kirby will start opposite Lorenzen in his second major league season, having continued the success he saw during his rookie campaign last year. The 25-year-old currently leads the majors in walks per nine innings (0.8) as well as strikeouts per walk (8.9), which also helped earn him an All-Star bid. In his two July starts, the sophomore pitcher has a 1.98 ERA over 13 2⁄3 innings, striking out 10 while walking three and allowing a dinger to earn a pair of wins.
Game 92 Pitching Matchup
Game 92: RHP Reese Olson (1-2, 4.05 ERA) vs. TBD
Olson gets the Sunday nod for Detroit as he continues to churn away in his debut campaign. After starting six games, the 23-year-old was moved to the bullpen after taking a comebacker to the knee against the Texas Rangers and did admirably in that role. The greenhorn hurler put up a 1.29 ERA over seven relief innings, allowing two hits and one run including a walk while striking out five. Hopefully, he can bridge that performance back over to the starting role.
Series Outlook: A strong start would be great
The Mariners are not exactly a juggernaut in the baseball realm, but it is always a tough task for the Tigers to win on the West Coast. The good news is that with the All-Star break, the starting rotation was able to reset, giving Detroit their best hurlers to kick off the second half. For what it is worth, Seattle is No. 23 in the majors in OPS (.703) but No. 14 overall in home runs (102), while the pitching staff ranks fifth in ERA (3.74) and second in WHIP (1.17), so the bats are going to need to find some way to get hot or else there could be some low-scoring affairs that do not favor the Olde English D.