The Detroit Tigers put up a heck of a fight against the Baltimore Orioles this week at Camden Yards, taking two of three from the American League wild-card contender to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to avoiding a 100-loss season. On that point, the Motor City Kitties need to win six of their final 13 games to prevent the embarrassing achievement.
Next on the docket for the Olde English D is a trip to the Windy City to face the floundering Chicago White Sox — a team that was expected to be a heavy hitter this summer but has struggled at just above a .500 clip. Between the drama behind their “Hall of Famer baseball person” at the helm and some significant underperformances, the ChiSox have grossly fallen short of the expectations coming into the season.
The Tigers have been even more disappointing, to be honest, getting hobbled by a slew of injuries along with some sharp regressions. Additionally, the Sox have held a strong advantage this summer over their intradivisional rivals, notching a 4-12 record in 2022 coming into the weekend series. Take a look at what is on tap for the next three days as Detroit looks to regain the upper hand on Chicago.
Detroit Tigers (57-92) at Chicago White Sox (76-74)
Times/Place: 8:10pm, 7:10pm, 2:10pm, Guaranteed Rate Field
SB Nation Site: South Side Sox
Media: Bally Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tiger’s Radio Network
Game 150 pitching matchup
GAME 1: LHP Eduardo Rodgriguez (3-5, 4.35 ERA) vs. RHP Lucas Giolito (10-9, 5.07 ERA)
Lucas Giolito is one of those White Sox players who have fallen short of their potential this season. Now in his seventh year of major league action—six in Chicago and his rookie season with the Washington Nationals—the 28-year-old sharply regressed in nearly every major statistic, both traditional and advanced. His ERA is 1.54 higher than last season, while his FIP and WHIP are 0.37 and 0.39 worse than in 2021, respectively.
The right-hander has faced the Tigers four times already this season, with his team losing three of those matchups. His one bright spot came on August 13 when the former first-round pick spun seven innings of four-run ball on eight hits and a walk while striking out seven to earn the win.
Game 151 pitching matchup
GAME 2: RHP Drew Hutchison (2-9, 4.59 ERA) vs. RHP Davis Martin (2-4, 3.78 ERA)
Rookie hurler Davis Martin starts on the mound for the seventh time in his nascent big league career, having served as both a game opener as well a reliever during his debut campaign. The former 14th-round pick out of Texas Tech in the 2018 MLB draft has been rather serviceable early on, giving his team a few quality innings as a starter.
The 25-year-old gets by on a four-pitch arsenal headlined by a four-seam fastball (93.9 mph), slider (84.5 mph), changeup (85.8 mph) and curveball (79.8 mph), which he uses at a 45.5 %, 32.2%, 12.4% and 10% clip, respectively, according to Baseball Savant. Martin’s barrel percentage (83rd), chase rate (82nd), fastball spin (76th), curve spin (71st) and extension (69th) all land in the top two-thirds in the 2022 MLB Percentile Rankings.
Game 152 pitching matchup
GAME 3: LHP Tyler Alexander (4-10, 4.91 ERA) vs. RHP Dylan Cease (14-7, 2.13 ERA)
Dylan Cease has been one of the best pitchers in the game this summer, coming into the weekend tenth in the league in fWAR (tied with Matt Scherzer at 4.5) and separated by just three starts from his near no-hitter on September 3. The Former sixth-round selection by the Chicago Cubs in the 2014 MLB draft has undoubtedly had his best season so far in his four-year career and is certain to receive votes for some impressive hardware.
The 26-year-old has seen the Tigers thrice in 2022, taming them all three times allowing just one run in each of those matchups. The overall line is 16 innings pitched, with three runs (two earned) crossing the plate on 12 hits and seven walks, while striking out 24 batters (8 in each) and allowing just one home run — Javier Baez’s eighth dinger of the season.
Series Outlook: Tigers must win at least one
Even a lackluster ChiSox squad presents a formidable opponent for Detriot as exemplified by the series record this summer. However, with both teams sitting outside of the playoff hunt this becomes an issue of wrapping the season up on a high note. The home team would certainly prefer to finish as far over the .500 mark as possible while the visitors just want to avoid being embarrassed. Taking at least one in Chicago would be a victory in itself for the Tigers.