After a brief stint playing far more interesting teams around the major leagues, the Chicago White Sox open September with a return to the familiarity of fellow bad American League Central clubs.
First up on the docket of five straight series within the division are the Detroit Tigers.
Does anyone remember early May, when the Tigers looked like they might be halfway decent this season? When they were looking like the second-best team in a fairly-mediocre division, before it was readily apparent just how bad the Central would be? Can we remember that far back with our post-Covid collective memory more resembling Swiss cheese than normally-functioning grey matter?
No? Yeah, same. May 2023 seems like forever ago already. Which, consequently, was also the last time the Pale Hose looked like a semi-competent baseball club, with any modicum of pride or professionalism. Oh, how quickly memory fades ...
What Have the Tigers Been Up To?
Detroit, like many post-industrial rust belt cities, has had its share of struggles and has seen its better days; much like the baseball team that calls the Motor City home. Despite being in second place for a few brief weeks in May, the Tigers aren’t good. They enter play firmly in third place in baseball’s worst division, sitting at 60-74, nine games back of mediocre Minnesota. These Tigs opened the season 0-1, and their high-water mark on the season to this point is one game worse than .500, a record last seen on May 28.
Despite a history of spending big dollars to compete with baseball’s best, Detroit has little to show for their fiscal extravagance. Who would have figured paying a 40-year-old Miguel Cabrera $30 million and handing 6/$140 million to Javier Báez would blow up in their faces? Seemed obvious to onlookers when it happened, but please no one mention this to Jerry Reinsdorf or the yes-man lackey who was just hired as de facto failson to “fill” the front office vacancy ...
The Tigers took three of four from the South Siders in Chicago over Memorial Day weekend to pull their season record to 25-26. Detroit hovered around the .500 mark for most of April and May. June, however, was far less kind to the Kitties, as they suffered a three-game sweep at the hands of these lowly White Sox to open the month. That three game losing streak would become nine straight before they would win again. They would go on to lose 13 of their next 15 games to plummet to 27-39 by June 14. Not great, Bob. Not great at all.
It’s not all doom and gloom in the Motor City though. Detroit currently stands as the team with the best record against the AL Central out of any AL Central team, which, is something I guess. Lest you need any reminders however, the AL Central is really really bad. Worst division in baseball bad. So the Tigers are king of the mountain, as it were — or more accurately, king of a very short hill.
Despite its 25-15 record within the division, Detroit is merely 3-4 against the Pale Hose. They have six more shots to settle the score in the first week of September, with this weekend set on the South Side and three more next week in Detroit. Lets see who’s king of the hill at that point.
(Hahahahahahahahahahahahahhahaha I can’t even type that with a straight face.)
Either way, both teams suck, and even bragging rights ring hollow in this wretched season.
What Are the Pitching Matchups? How Do We Match Up?
There really isn’t anything very interesting going on with these two teams as the Dog Days of August fade into September. Both teams are bad and the sample sizes are adequate enough to draw tangible conclusions. Detroit’s team ERA+ of 99 is middle of the pack, while the Pale Hose sit closer to the bottom at 93. The Tigers FIP and WHIP are both better than average, and while nothing to write home about, are far better than the home team this series. Both teams sit in the bottom-three in team OPS+, so adjust your offensive expectations accordingly. Few surprises likely remain with a month left in the season between two clubs who are bad and know each other all too well.
Friday, September 1
Eduardo Rodríguez vs Touki Toussaint
Saturday, September 2
Reese Olson vs [redacted]
Sunday, September 3
Tarik Skubal vs Michael Kopech