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2022 Series Preview 9: Detroit Tigers @ Houston Astros

The Astros (14-11, 2nd in AL West) wrap up their homestand with four games against the Tigers (8-15, t-4th in AL Central)

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Houston Astros Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Quick Notes

The Detroit Tigers came into 2022 after some moves in the offseason that had people wondering whether they intended to compete in the AL Central. Detroit managed to sign both Javier Baez and Eduardo Rodriguez to long term contracts and was banking on former No. 1 pick Spencer Torkelson to bolster their chances in a division that seemingly had several teams headed in the wrong direction.

In addition to that, the Tigers had some strong performances from last season out of players set to return, including Akil Baddoo, Casey Mize, and Jeimer Candelario, to name a few. However, things have not quite worked out as well as the Detroit faithful could have hoped for.

The Twins and (somewhat surprisingly) the Guardians are making noise in the division, holding down last year’s AL Central champion White Sox and setting up a much more interesting race in the division. None of this bodes well for the Tigers, who really don’t look ready for primetime after a month of play.

The schedule and the weather have done them no favors during their recent stretch, with Detroit having played two rain-induced doubleheaders in the last week and a half. They’ve also played against two current 1st place teams during that time, and things don’t seem to be getting any easier for them as they face off against what seems to be an awakening Astros lineup.

All that has led to Detroit sporting an 8-15 record as they head into Houston while sitting in the divisional basement with the Royals. The only teams with a worse record than the Tigers are the Orioles and Reds, neither of which are teams that you particularly want to be in the company of.

Last 10 Games: 2-8 Record, 1 Series Split, 2 Series Lost, 1 Series Swept, -24 Run Differential (23 scored, 47 allowed)

W/L Splits: 5-9 at home, 3-6 on the road, 3-9 against teams over .500


The Offense

As one would expect from an 8-11 team, Detroit’s offense has been rather lackluster so far this season, with bright spots few and far between. As a team, Detroit is sporting a .226/.301/.316 that puts them in the bottom third of the league for most traditional stats.

Particularly lamentable is the .316 slugging, which makes them dead last so far as power is concerned. This is reflected in the fact that the team only has 10 home runs so far in 23 games.

Austin Meadows (.299/.393/.390) has the best slash line and OPS of anyone who has seen significant playtime in 2022, but his numbers aren’t really all that much to write home about. Harold Castro (.351/.375/.432) probably has the best overall numbers, but he’s only had 37 AB’s across 14 games, so he’s not really in regular starter territory.

Spencer Torkelson, who a lot of Tigers fans are resting their hopes for the future on, hasn’t really delivered during his time in the league so far. He does lead the team with 3 homers and is tied for the most walks at 11, but his 26 K’s and .174 BA put a little bit of tarnish on those stats.


The Pitching

Unlike the offense, Detroit’s pitching has been surprisingly good in 2022. The team has a 3.49 ERA across 201.1 IP, which is good for 11th in MLB. As a unit, they’ve only surrendered 62 free passes so far in 2022, putting them at second best in the league. A big part of that success has come from Detroit’s relief corps, who have held opposing batters to a league-best .188 BAA to match their 1st-place 2.26 ERA.

Gregory Soto (LHP, 8.0 IP, 1.13 ERA, 7 K’s) has closing duties for the Tigers this season and has successfully converted 4 of his 5 opportunities so far this year. You can also expect to see converted starter Michael Fulmer (RHP, 10.1 IP, 0.00 ERA, 8 K’s) and Joe Jimenez (RHP, 9.1 IP, 4.82 ERA, 11 K’s) doing high leverage duty this series.


The Starters

Game 1: Tarik Skubal (LHP, 1-2, 3.05 ERA, 20 K’s) vs José Urquidy (2-1, 5.95 ERA, 13 K’s)

Skubal has been up and down this season with his most recent start ending with a disappointing 6 runs surrendered across 5 innings, though only 3 were earned. He has managed two starts with 0 earned runs on his ledger though, getting into the 6th in both, and has a walk to strikeout ratio of 3 to 20.

Game 2: Beau Brieske (RHP, 0-1, 3.60 ERA, 6 K’s) vs Luis Garcia (1-1, 4.15 ERA, 19 K’s)

Brieske will get the ball in Game 2 for what will be just his third career start. The young righty showed mettle his last time out, which was a good 5-inning appearance against the Dodgers wherein he only gave up 3 hits and one run. He’ll go from the frying pan to the fire though, with his second straight start against an expected division winner.

Game 3: Eduardo Rodriguez (LHP, 0-2, 5.33 ERA, 23 K’s) vs Framber Valdez (1-2, 3.42 ERA, 19 K’s)

Eduardo Rodriguez comes into this game after pitching the most innings for the Tigers in 2022 at 25.1. Unsurprisingly this will be his 6th start of the season, also a high in comparison to the rest of Detroit’s pitchers. He’ll need to recover from a bit of a disaster against the Dodgers his last time out, with 6 runs (4 earned) surrendered across just 5.2 innings of work.

Game 4: TBD vs Jake Odorizzi (2-2, 4.15 ERA, 12 K’s)


For Your Viewing and Listening Pleasure

Game 1: Thursday, May 5th @ 7:10 pm CDT
Listen: Tigers - WXYT 97.1 FM / Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KTRH 740 AM/99.1 FM HD-2, TUDN 93.3/KLAT 1010
Watch: Tigers - Bally Sports Detroit / Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW

Game 2: Friday, May 6th @ 7:10 pm CDT
Listen: Tigers - WXYT 97.1 FM / Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KTRH 740 AM/99.1 FM HD-2, TUDN 93.3/KLAT 1010
Watch: Tigers - Bally Sports Detroit / Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW

Game 3: Saturday, May 7th @ 3:05 pm CDT
Listen: Tigers - WXYT 97.1 FM / Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, TUDN 93.3/KLAT 1010
Watch: Tigers - Bally Sports Detroit / Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW / FS1

Game 4: Sunday, May 8th @ 1:10 pm CDT
Listen: Tigers - WXYT 97.1 FM / Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, TUDN 93.3/KLAT 1010

Watch: Tigers - Bally Sports Detroit / Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW / MLB Network (out-of-market only)


Poll

Who wins this series?

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    Astros Sweep 4-0
    (6 votes)
  • 67%
    Astros Win 3-1
    (55 votes)
  • 16%
    Series Split 2-2
    (13 votes)
  • 2%
    Tigers Win 3-1
    (2 votes)
  • 6%
    Tigers Sweep 4-0
    (5 votes)
81 votes total Vote Now