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Series Preview: Tigers return home to host San Diego Padres for 3-game set

Detroit is coming off a successful seven-game road trip that saw the squad drop just a pair of games.

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Chicago White Sox v Detroit Tigers Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Detroit Tigers finally return home for the first time since the All-Star break this weekend after a successful seven-game road trip. AJ Hinch’s squad managed to take two of three from the Seattle Mariners — the host of this year’s ASG festivities — before heading to Kansas City to take three of four from their intradivision rivals, the Royals.

The Motor City Kitties are now eight games under the .500 mark and five games behind the first-place Minnesota Twins in the American League Central. But despite what seems like a narrow margin in the race for the division title, this squad is very likely to be sellers ahead of the trade deadline — with many already conceding that starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez is all but gone.

Still, there are 66 games remaining in the season and with baseball being baseball, anything can happen.

Next up for the Olde English D are the San Diego Padres, who arrive at Comerica Park after dropping three of four to the Philadelphia Phillies before taking two of three from the Toronto Blue Jays — both on the road. The SoCal boys have nonetheless been very disappointing this season given that they have the third-highest payroll in the majors ($248,995,932) yet do not even have a winning record.

Take a look below at the pitching matchups lined up for this weekend, with a pair of TBDs sprinkled in.

Detroit Tigers (44-52) vs. San Diego Padres (46-51)

Times (EDT): Friday: 6:40 p.m.; Saturday: 6:10 p.m.; Sunday: 12:05 p.m.
Place: Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan
SB Nation Site: Gaslamp Ball
Media: Bally Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network, Apple, Peacock, whatever...

Game 97 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Olson 38.2 25.8 5.2 3.52 0.6
Lugo 69.0 22.2 4.5 3.59 1.5

Game 97: RHP Reese Olson (1-3, 3.96 ERA) vs. RHP Seth Lugo (3-4, 3.78 ERA)

Olson’s most recent outing against the Mariners was probably the best of his nascent major league career. The 23-year-old notched his first-ever quality start with a six-inning effort in which he allowed a pair of runs on six hits (one home run) but no walks while striking out five in the losing effort. The young greenhorn continues to show progress through each of his respective starts and hopefully continues that trend on Friday night.

Lugo, now in his eighth major league season, continues to put up solid numbers for the third-straight season — though, in his first campaign with the Padres, he has become a full-time starter after years of relief work (not dissimilar to Michael Lorenzen). The 33-year-old former New York Met has put up similar numbers over 13 starts in 2023 as he did as a reliever having already eclipsed his innings total from the past three years. At some point, the righty will likely start running out of gas... maybe that will start this series.

Game 98 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Manning 38.2 25.8 5.2 3.52 0.6
TBD - - - - -

Game 98: RHP Matt Manning (3-1, 3.38 ERA) vs. TBD

Manning is just a game separated from his historic tandem no-hitter he helped throw against Toronto right before the All-Star break. In that one outing since, he continued to be effective, tossing 5 23 frames of two-run ball (one earned) on four hits and no walks while striking out three to take the no-decision in the team win. The 25-year-old’s peripherals are finally rounding into form which will be key for the Tigers down the home stretch.

Game 99 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
TBD - - - - -
Musgrove 85.1 24.5 5.1 3.16 2.0

Game 99: TBD vs. RHP Joe Musgrove (9-2, 3.16 ERA)

Musgrove gets the nod on Sunday for the Padres now in his eighth year in the big leagues and third in San Diego. The 30-year-old hurler currently holds the National League lead in winning percentage (81.8%) while also at the top of the senior circuit in hit-by-pitches (9). The right-hander made an ASG appearance last year, but despite putting up near-identical numbers this season, he failed to earn a ticket this time. Still, his low ERA, FIP and WHIP (1.14) all suggest that he is still cruising right along.

Series Outlook: Take advantage of a struggling Padres team

The good news this weekend is that the Tigers will not have to face Padres ace Blake Snell, who is having yet another superlative season. The medium news is that San Diego’s offense is right in the middle of the pack according to OPS (.728) at No. 14 — tied with the Houston Astros. The bad news is that the visitors are fourth in the majors according to ERA (3.78). Despite the hurdles, Detroit should be able to take two of three and continue to climb back up near the .500 mark ahead of the dog days of August.