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Series Preview: Tigers and Twins tangle in a pair of midweek games

Detroit remains on the road with two games in the Twin Cities this week.

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MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Minnesota Twins Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers got off to a rough start to their nine-game road trip last weekend, dropping two of three to the Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park as the American League East division continues to torment the Motor City Kitties.

The next stop on the journey takes the team to face the Central division-leading Minnesota Twins at Target Field for a pair of midweek matchups starting on Tuesday. The home team holds an eight-game lead over the visitors, the latter of whom resides a dozen games under the .500 mark entering the brief series.

The Twinkies will be looking to avenge the four-game series loss last week in Detroit, after which they took two of three from the Philadelphia Phillies in the City of Brotherly Love. They have gone 6-4 in their last 10 while the Tigers have gone an even 5-5 over that same stretch.

Take a look below at the pitching matchups for the two upcoming games in Minneapolis as Detroit continues to grind away at the remainder of the schedule. Note that both are rematches from their previous starts, which should make for some interesting baseball.

Detroit Tigers (53-65) at Minnesota Twins (62-58)

Times (EDT): Tuesday: 7:40 p.m.; Wednesday: 1:10 p.m.
Place: Target Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota
SB Nation Site: Twinkie Town
Media: Bally Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network

Game 119 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Faedo 40.1 21.5 6.1 5.18 0.1
Ober 108.2 24.3 4.3 3.78 2.0

Game 119: RHP Alex Faedo (2-4, 5.80 ERA) vs. RHP Bailey Ober (6-6, 3.40 ERA)

Faedo’s first start after being recalled from the minors came against the Twins last week. The 27-year-old lasted just 4 23 innings, allowing three runs on four hits (two home runs) and two walks while striking out five. That effort was good enough to help the team earn the win that day but those homers surrendered to Carlos Correa and Joey Gallo really hurt his efforts. What his team really needs is a repeat of the six innings of one-hit ball he put up against the San Diego Padres before being optioned to Toledo.

Ober has faced the Tigers twice this season, giving up three runs over six innings with eight strikeouts for a quality start in the team win back in June but the second time was not so great. In the 28-year-old’s most recent start in Detroit, he gave up five runs (four earned) on 11 hits (one home run) and one walk while striking out nine over five frames to take the loss. AJ Hinch’s squad has proven that they can get to the right-hander before, so hopefully they can replicate that formula for success.

Game 120 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Olson 60.2 23.1 6.4 4.08 0.7
Maeda 65.2 28.8 6.4 3.56 1.4

Game 120: RHP Reese Olson (2-5, 4.45 ER) vs. RHP Kenta Maeda (3-7, 3.97 ERA)

Olson has had tremendous success the two times he has faced the Twins this season, holding them to just a single run over 11 13 innings, striking out 17 over that stretch. The 24-year-old rookie tossed 5 13 frames of one-run ball on just a solo home run and a walk while striking out nine at Comerica Park back in June. The second time — and his most recent outing — he logged his first major league quality start by tossing six scoreless innings, scattering two hits and three walks while striking out eight. Also of note, his first two (and only so far) MLB wins have come against Minnesota.

Maeda has also tamed the Tigers this season in his two games against the Olde English D. The 35-year-old shut them out back in June over five innings allowing three hits and two walks while striking out eight for his first win of the season. Then last time out he tossed a quality start of his own, allowing just a run on three hits (one home run) and a walk while striking out four over six innings, but was ultimately saddled with the loss. It would not be a bad thing if Wednesday turns out to be another pitcher’s duel.

Series Outlook: Beating the Twins feels goods

Let us be realistic here, the Tigers are not a playoff-caliber team and will not be making a run for the Central title, as bad as the division might be. But as I have mentioned before, there is no shame in playing the spoiler, especially against a bitter rival like Minnesota. While the pitching matchup seems to suggest a potential split, as we have seen time and time again, the games play out much differently on the grass than they do on paper. A win or two would be just fine with me no matter what.