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Know Your Enemy: Detroit Tigers

Still not real tigers, and I don’t have it in me to care

CHINA-HEILONGJIANG-SIBERIAN TIGERS (CN) Photo by Xie Jianfei/Xinhua via Getty Images

We’re in the home stretch of the season, which always means one of two things: either we’re seeing teams we haven’t seen in a long time, or we’re seeing Central opponents to cram in the last bit of division play we can. Guess where we are for 2021.

Last time

The White Sox (85-64) took one game out of the last three-game series in Detroit. They hit a five-game winning streak by taking the first game of the series, only to fall the final two. After a long road to the majors, Jake Burger got his first career hit (a double) helping the White Sox take game one. The second game was a different story. Eric Haase hit two three-run home runs (one inside-the-park) in the Tigers’ 11-5 victory in which Dallas Keuchel struggled immensely. Keuchel walked both Jonathan Schoop and Miguel Cabrera prior to Haase’s (first) home run. He also gave up seven runs on seven hits in four-plus innings. This outing gave us the rather infamous “Keuchel complaining about how deep outfielders are playing” quote. The final game of the series was a bit closer, but the Tigers (72-78) still took the final game of the series for their first series win against the White Sox since 2018 (...yay). Lucas Giolito gave up 10 hits and allowed six runs, continuing a streak that’s resulted in him being 0-3 against the Tigers this season.

How’s it going?

The magic number is at four for the White Sox, so it’s possible that they could officially clinch the division as early as Tuesday. Meanwhile the Tigers are sitting at third in the division, 13 12 games back from first and nowhere near as bad as the Twins are this season. Not to mention that they’ve been plagued with injuries as of late, giving a lot of their minor leaguers an opportunity in the big league. Despite all of this, they have won seven of their last 10, and it appears that whatever A.J. Hinch is doing is working for them. Miguel Cabrera got his 500th career home run against the Blue Jays, becoming the 28th player to reach the milestone and the first player to do it as a Tiger.

There wasn’t much trade deadline action for the Tigers outside of a trade of Daniel Norris to the Brewers for Reese Olson (a minor-league pitching prospect) and acquiring Dustin Garneau for cash considerations from the Rockies.

With all the recent Miguel Cabrera batting news/records, you’ll be surprised to know he’s not at the top of any of their batting lists. Jonathan Schoop leads in average (.275), RBIs (77), and hits (159). Meanwhile, Robbie Grossman leads in home runs (23) and OBP (.353). Tarik Skubal is leading the pitching staff in wins (eight) and strikeouts (162).

Pitching matchups

Today is going to be Carlos Rodón vs. Matt Manning. Rodón is 12-5 this season over 124 23 innings with a 2.38 ERA. In his last seven starts, he’s 5-2 with 45 strikeouts and allowing 28 hits. Rodón is 4-0 against the Tigers, his recent win coming on June 13. Manning debuted June 17 and faced the White Sox on July 4, earning a no-decision. He’s 4-6 for the season over 72 innings with a 5.75 ERA. Manning relies on five pitches: a 4-seam fastball, sinker, slider, changeup, and curveball. Since the All-Star break, Manning is holding a 5.22 ERA and 3-3 record. He’s 3-2 at home with a 4.24 ERA, and fares only slightly better against lefties than righties (5.35 vs. 6.10).

Tuesday is Dallas Keuchel vs. Tyler Alexander. Keuchel is 1-4 in his last seven starts with a 8.24 ERA over 31 23 innings. It’s safe to say that 2021 has been the worst season of Keuchel’s career, having walked 55 while giving up 98 runs (88 earned). In his last five against the Tigers he’s 1-2 over 25 innings with a 5.04 ERA. He his last start against them July 3, going four innings and giving up seven hits, runs, and earned runs while walking three and striking out two. Alexander is 2-3 this season over 89 13 innings with a 4.13 ERA. He’s 1-2 in his last seven starts with a 3.09 ERA over 35 innings. He’s 0-3 against the White Sox, going a total of 22 13 innings and posting a 6.45 ERA. Alexander relies on five pitches: cutter, sinker, changeup, 4-seam fastball, and slider. Righties have given him some trouble. In 66 innings, he has allowed 73 hits and 35 earned runs to an ERA of 4.77. At home, Alexander is 1-2 with a 4.28 ERA.

Wednesday will see Reynaldo López vs. Casey Mize. López is 1-3 in his last seven starts, going 28 innings and posting a 4.50 ERA. Overall this season he’s 3-3 in 48 innings with a 3.00 ERA, allowing 33 hits and striking out 47. He’s 3-2 against the Tigers, posting a 3.81 ERA and allowing 28 hits while striking out 31and walking six. Mize is 7-8 this season over 143 13 innings with a 3.64 ERA. In his last seven starts he’s 1-2 with a 3.95 ERA, and he’s 0-3 against the White Sox. He’s given up 21 hits and posted a 4.56 ERA against the White Sox, while walking six and striking out 28. Mize has five pitches: slider, 4-seam fastball, sinker, split finger, and curveball.

Why we still hate them