The Detroit Tigers return home after a successful road trip that saw them win five of their nine games, with four of those coming against their American League Central rivals. The Motor City Kitties split a pair against the first-place Minnesota Twins last week before taking three of four over the weekend to help drag the Cleveland Guardians out of the divisional race.
Despite the victories, AJ Hinch’s squad is still 10 games under the .500 mark and 7.5 games out of first, well out of striking distance for that playoff spot. Mathematically, they are still in it but are nowhere near in control of their own destiny.
Next up for the Tigers are the Chicago Cubs, who arrive in the comfortable confines of Comerica Park on Monday for a three-game tangle this week. The Cubbies are currently five games over .500 and three games out of the National League Central division behind the Milwaukee Brewers, having won six of their last 10 games as they try to eke into the playoffs with a division title.
Take a look below at the pitching matchups for the upcoming three-game series in Detroit against Chicago. Fortunately, there will be no broadcast shenanigans this week.
Detroit Tigers (57-67) vs. Chicago Cubs (64-59)
Times (EDT): Monday: 6:40 p.m.; Tuesday: 6:10 p.m.; Wednesday: 1:10 p.m.
Place: Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan
SB Nation Site: Bleed Cubbie Blue
Media: Bally Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network
Game 125 Pitching Matchup
Faedo looks to build on one of his finest outings of the 2023 campaign against the Twins last week. The 27-year-old tossed five scoreless frames, allowing just a hit and a walk while striking out six en route to a no-decision in the team’s loss. A repeat of that performance would go a long way against the Cubbies.
Assad takes the mound opposite Faedo on Tuesday night in his second season of MLB action. The 27-year-old originally signed as an international free agent out of Mexico, has served as both a reliever and starter this summer, getting the opening nod in his last three appearances. The right-hander put up nearly identical numbers in his two big league summers and has improved his WHIP, which has made him a serviceable option on the staff.
Game 126 Pitching Matchup
Olson’s last start against Minny was one to forget as it represented his worst performance of the season. The rookie right-hander allowed four runs on eight hits and a walk while striking out three over 2 2⁄3 innings before getting the hook; the Tigers did go on to win that one, however. It was a shame to see because the 24-year-old had thrown his first career quality start against that same team his prior time out. Will he rebound again?
Ring the Old Friend Alert™ bell! Smyly returns to Detroit with the Cubs now in the golden years of his solid major league career. In fact, the 34-year-old is on track to log the most innings since 2016 — which is essentially what he is good for these days. After starting his first 19 appearances this year, he switched to a flex role that saw him come out of the bullpen for five games while starting just two. It looks like the rotation needs his help again as he heads back out to the mound on Tuesday.
Game 127 Pitching Matchup
Skubal’s return from surgery has been a triumphant one save for a few hiccups. The 26-year-old has allowed one or fewer runs in five of his eight starts, with the other three being the aforementioned burps along the way. Last time out, the left-hander hurler held the Guardians to one run on three hits and a walk while striking out seven over six frames for the win. We just need Skubal to do that voodoo that he do so very well.
Taillon has had a brutal campaign after putting up some tidy numbers last summer, seeing his traditional and peripheral stats bottom out from under him. The 31-year-old’s return to the senior circuit has had far more downs than ups, though his highwater mark of eight scoreless one-hit innings against the Yankees on July 7 was a glimpse of greatness. Since then he has managed to log a few quality starts but is still prone to disaster. He does eat innings, however.
Series Outlook: Just win, baby!
One thing to look forward to on Monday is the major league debut of Parker Meadows, who can’t lose. As far as the pitching matchups are concerned, they seem to favor the home team this week, but on the flip side, the Cubbies pack a lot of punch at the plate, coming in eighth in the majors in OPS (.751) thanks in large part to a fifth-ranked OBP (.332). Meanwhile, the Tigers are 29th in both OPS (.678) and OBP (.300) entering the week. At the very least, it would be great to get Meadows a series win to start his big-league career.