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2021 Series Preview: Houston Astros @ Detroit Tigers

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The Astros (46-28, 1st in AL West) stomp into Detroit for four games against the Tigers (32-42, 4th in AL Central)

MLB: Houston Astros at Detroit Tigers Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Quick Notes

The Tigers have been a very up and down team in the month of June, alternating series wins and losses as they continue to coast along at the bottom of their division. in the midst of a rebuild, their position and priorities hasn’t changed much since the beginning of the season. Detroit is more a team of the future than one of the present and it doesn’t look like they’ll be doing much threatening of the Indians and White Sox in 2021.

Still, they have shown some surprising success. The Tigers managed a sweep of Houston on their home turf just last month and they have also been able to sweep both the Cardinals and Royals in the last week and a half, so Houston would do well to not sleep on this team.

Last 10 Games: 6-4 Record, 2 Series Sweeps, 1 Series Loss, +3 Run Differential

W/L Splits: 17-19 at home, 15-23 on the road, 19-28 against teams over .500


Offense

Collectively slashing .231/.302/.381 this season, the Tigers haven’t been very exciting, hovering in the lower third of the league in most offensive team stats. It certainly doesn’t help that they strikeout a ton, sitting at 2nd in MLB with 743 K’s. Either way, their record certainly could look worse for a team with a -65 run differential.

They do have some speed in the lineup though, and this team likes to run. They are sixth in MLB with 45 stolen bases and have only been caught 11 times. The Tigers are also second in the league when it comes to triples, having belted 17 three baggers already this season.

Notable Players:

  • Jonathan Schoop (.280/.333/.496) continues to be the kind of player he has been the last few years of his career: A reliable infielder with some pop who will bring home an OPS in the neighborhood of .800 each season. He leads the Tigers in homers (15) and RBI (40) this year, and has been known to swipe a bag or two (8 SB).
  • Akil Badoo (.272/.367/.490) has continued to be a welcome surprise for Detroit this season, though he’s only played in 56 of 74 games this season. Still, he has made the most of the games that he has played in and his .857 OPS is the best one on the team.
  • Daz Cameron (.242/.286/.545), who we last saw as one of the bigger pieces of the Justin Verlander trade, has had himself a sweet little month of June after starting the season in AAA. Cameron has hit 3 homers and a double in 33 AB, and stolen 3 bases.

Pitching

As a staff, Tigers pitching has been pretty much just as underwhelming as the offense, and are also in the bottom third of the league when it comes to most stats. The staff owns a 4.51 ERA (21st), a 1.37 WHIP (22nd), and .249 BAA (23rd). Command seems to be an issue for the team, with a 265 to 559 walk to strikeout ratio. Not the best look when you walk around half as many guys as you strikeout.

The bullpen has really been the sore spot for Detroit. Relievers have 9 blown saves this season and a rather inflated 5.08 collective ERA. To be fair, it looks as though the game is mostly decided by the time it comes to them, with the bullpen only owning 24 decisions for Detroit this season. Also, standard caveat about the fact that individual performances may be much better than the average.

Notable Relievers:

  • Jose Cisnero (RHP, 3.09 ERA, 32 IP, 39 K’s) has been a solid set up man for Detroit and has worked more innings than any other Tigers reliever. He also has 2 saves under his belt, so h seems to be a trusted piece in the pen.
  • Gregory Soto (LHP, 2.40 ERA, 30 IP, 35 K’s) is the Tigers’ closer and has been one of their better relievers so far in 2021. He has been a perfect 6 for 6 in save opportunities so far this year.
  • Michael Fulmer (RHP, 3.46 ERA, 39 IP, 42 K’s) is a converted starter who has been seeing time in late inning roles for the Tigers. Since returning from the IL he was pitched a scoreless 8th inning and converted a save for Detroit, but did give up 2 runs before shutting the door in that one. Fulmer has picked up 6 saves for the Tigers this season and seems as likely as Soto to get the ball in the 9th.

Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Luis Garcia (RHP, 5-4, 2.82 ERA, 80 K’s) vs Jose Urena (RHP, 2-7, 5.79 ERA, 41 K’s)

Urena has been a complete wreck in recent games, and has struggled pretty much all year. He’s only had one outing where he hasn’t given up any runs and has surrendered at least 4 runs in five of his thirteen starts this year. He was tagged for 14 runs with just 6 IP across his last two starts,

Game 2: Framber Valdez (LHP, 4-0, 1.67 ERA, 29 K’s) vs Wily Peralta (RHP, 0-1, 7.11 ERA, 3 K’s)

Peralta will make just his second start of the season after getting wrecked his first time out. He gave up 5 runs in 5 innings, including 2 home runs, against the Angels in that one. Peralta did have 1.1 innings of scoreless relief before that as well this season, but that’s all the time he’s seen in 2021.

Game 3: Lance McCullers Jr. (RHP, 4-1, 2.90 ERA, 66 K’s) vs Casey Mize (RHP, 4-4, 3.61 ERA, 66 K’s)

Mize has been having a standout season among Detroit’s starters, even if he hasn’t really been rewarded with too many Wins. He tossed 7 innings of shutout ball the last time he faced the Astros, back in April. His last outing saw him tagged for 3 runs in 5 innings against the Angels.

Game 4: Jake Odorrizzi (RHP, 2-3, 4.75 ERA, 35 K’s) vs Tarik Skubal LHP, 4-7, 4.33 ERA, 85 K’s)

Skubal has been good enough for Detroit though not really overwhelming. He’s tossed a couple of clunkers but for the most part has done enough to keep Detroit competitive in the majority of games that he’s started. This will be his first career start against the Astros.


Media Access

Game 1: Thursday, June 24th @ 6:10 pm CDT
Listen: Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KLAT 1010 / Tigers - 97.1 The Ticket
Watch: Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW / Tigers - Bally Sports Detroit

Game 2: Friday, June 25th @ 6:10 pm CDT
Listen: Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KLAT 1010 / Tigers - 97.1 The Ticket
Watch: Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW / Tigers - Bally Sports Detroit

Game 3: Saturday, June 26th @ 3:10 pm CDT
Listen: Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KLAT 1010 / Tigers - 97.1 The Ticket
Watch: Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW / Tigers - Bally Sports Detroit

Game 4: Sunday, June 27th @ 12:10 pm CDT
Listen: Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KLAT 1010 / Tigers - 97.1 The Ticket
Watch: Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW / Tigers - Bally Sports Detroit


Poll

Who wins this series?

This poll is closed

  • 31%
    Astros Sweep 4-0
    (71 votes)
  • 56%
    Astros Win 3-1
    (125 votes)
  • 8%
    Series Split 2-2
    (18 votes)
  • 2%
    Tigers Win 3-1
    (5 votes)
  • 1%
    Tigers Sweep 4-0
    (4 votes)
223 votes total Vote Now