The Detroit Tigers took a punch to the gut this past week as the visiting Los Angeles Angels swept them in a three-game set, which included star two-way player Shohei Ohtani’s first career complete-game shutout. The Motor City Kitties are all but out of the race for a playoff spot following the three-game skid which pushed them to 11 games under the .500 mark and 7.5 games behind the first-place Minnesota Twins in the American League Central division.
There are still 59 games remaining on the schedule and just a few days until the summer trade deadline, so despite the doldrums, there is still plenty of action ahead for baseball fans. AJ Hinch’s squad travels to South Florida this weekend to face the Miami Marlins looking to get back on track against a team that is also well out of contention in the National League East division but still having a solid season.
Take a look below at the pitching matchups for this weekend as the Tigers and Marlins clash at LoanDepot Park for a three-game series.
Detroit Tigers (46-57) at Miami Marlins (55-48)
Game 104 Pitching Matchup
Olson makes the eighth start of his rookie campaign on Friday following a pair of losses since returning from a two-game stint in the bullpen. The 23-year-old’s last outing was one of the worst of his young career, surrendering five runs on seven hits (two home runs) and two walks while striking out five over five frames against the San Diego Padres. The Tigers will need him to right the ship down the stretch, especially if either/or Eduardo Rodriguez and Michael Lorenzen get dealt at the deadline.
Garrett has reached 100 innings for the first time in his four-year career this summer in a campaign that has seen some slight regression from last season’s high-water mark. While his ERA, hits per nine (9.3) and home runs per nine (1.4) numbers are elevated he has improved his WHIP (1.19), strikeouts per nine (10.0) and strikeouts per walk (6.94) stats. The 25-year-old has had a brutal month of July, putting up a 7.85 ERA and 5.41 FIP over 18 1⁄3 innings, allowing 26 hits but just one walk while striking out 19; he also allowed five dingers and hit three batters over that span.
Game 105 Pitching Matchup
Game 105: TBD vs. RHP Johnny Cueto (0-1, 4.50 ERA)
Cueto missed a lion’s share of the season so far due to injuries that kept him out until after the All-Star break. The 37-year-old hurler tossed one inning on April 3 against the Twins before exiting with biceps tightness and then later injured his ankle in a rehab start in early May. The veteran right-hander's limited stats are heavily skewed by his season debut, but since returning from the injured list, he has tossed nine frames of one-run ball on three hits and two walks while striking out nine.
Game 106 Pitching Matchup
Skubal continues his triumphant return from flexor tendon surgery on Sunday for his fifth start of the season. While the 26-year-old’s sample size is still very small, one cannot help but be impressed with some of his numbers, including a microscopic 0.88 WHIP while allowing zero home runs over 17 frames so far. The lefty threw a gem last time out — albeit in limited innings — throwing five innings of scoreless ball on two hits and no walks while striking out nine San Francisco Giants batters for his first win of 2023.
Luzardo, now in his fifth season and third with the Marlins, currently leads his team in fWAR among pitchers in a campaign that has seen him mostly replicate his numbers from 2022. The former Rookie of the Year candidate has been particularly solid this month, punctuated by a quality start against the Colorado Rockies last time out. The 25-year-old held them to one run over seven frames on four hits (including a solo home run) and two walks while striking out an eye-popping 13 en route to a no-decision in the team win.
Series Outlook: A mixed matchup ahead for the Tigers
This Marlins team has some beef and could potentially cause the Tigers a lot of trouble in Miami this weekend. While the offense, led by Luis Arraez, is less than mediocre at No. 19 in the majors in OPS (.718) and No. 27 in home runs (92), the pitching staff is No. 13 in ERA (4.08) and No. 12 in WHIP (1.26). Conversely, Detroit ranks at No. 29 in OPS (.664) and No. 25 in home runs (96) while the hurlers are No. 21 in ERA (4.49) and No. 7 in WHIP (1.25). It is not an insurmountable difference, but playing on the road against a better-than-average team will pose plenty of challenges for Hinch and Co. At least they will not have to face Sandy Alcantara.