The Detroit Tigers suffered their first series loss against the Chicago White Sox, dropping the Wednesday rubber match by a final of 6-5. The offense for Detroit, for a change, was not the reason for their downfall, at least not totally. No, the biggest problem came from the starters. The trio of Artie Lewicki, Blaine Hardy, and Jordan Zimmermann logged a combined 8.56 ERA (13 ER in 13.2 IP).
After Minnesota left town last weekend, they returned home to host the Pittsburgh Pirates in a mini two-game interleague series. After losing the opener 5-2 on Tuesday, the Twinkies rebounded with a 6-4 win on Wednesday. This is an unusual stretch of games for Minnesota coming up. After the Tigers leave town, the Chicago White Sox visit Target Field for a previously-postponed makeup game before the shifting the scene to the south side of Chicago for two games.
We documented the last time these two teams met just last weekend how they were going to see plenty of each other. Following the end of this series, the Tigers and Twins will have played head-to-head seven times in a 10-day period, with two more series to go still in the season series.
Game 1 | Francisco Liriano (Tigers) vs. Ervin Santana (Twins)
For the second consecutive time, Francisco Liriano (3-7, 4.42 ERA) will take the ball and toe the slab against his original employer. Liriano in his last start against the Twins on August 11 went five innings and allowed three earned runs, scattering six hits and four walks, the most he issued in his last six outings. This will be his first start in Target Field since 2015 when he was a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Liriano in 44 career games (41 starts) at his old stomping grounds owns a 3.97 ERA.
Like Liriano, Ervin Santana (0-1, 6.53 ERA) will also oppose the same team in back-to-back starts. Santana faced Detroit on August 10 and the Tigers knocked him around for five runs in six innings, taking him deep twice. While it was the deepest Santana had gone in any of his four starts so far in this abbreviated season for him, it was also the most runs he had given up in any of those outings. He has allowed seven ER in 9.2 innings at home this season.
Game 2 | Matthew Boyd (Tigers) vs. Kyle Gibson (Twins)
Matthew Boyd (7-10, 4.20 ERA) was very good again in his last start against the Twins, allowing just one run and three total baserunners in six innings of work. That is now a 2.37 ERA in five second-half starts for Boyd, a stretch of 30.1 innings in which he has allowed only two gopher balls. Opponents are stuck on the interstate in that span as well (.196 opp. BA). Boyd will now face the Twins in Target Field, where he holds a 4.32 ERA in six career starts at that venue.
Kyle Gibson (6-9, 3.49 ERA) absolutely had his way with the Tigers in his last start, twirling seven frames of one-run ball to pick up his sixth win of the season. Detroit has historically given Gibson fits over the years (5.22 ERA in 19 career starts vs. DET) but the 30-year-old has kept a rebuilding edition of the Tigers in check this season (2.77 ERA in two starts this year vs. DET). He will face them again, this time at home where he has fared worse in 2018 (4.04 ERA in 11 home starts; 3.06 ERA in 13 road starts).
Game 3 | TBD (Tigers) vs. Kohl Stewart (Twins)
This spot was originally designated for Artie Lewicki but with him being placed on the 10-day disabled list with elbow inflammation, the Tigers need to scramble and figure out a new plan. Though nothing confirmed yet, one option could be lefty minor leaguer Ryan Carpenter, who was scheduled to start down in Triple-A for Toledo on Wednesday but was scratched. Carpenter has a 6.39 ERA in four games (three starts) with the Tigers this season.
Twins rookie Kohl Stewart (0-1, 6.23) will have the great pleasure of facing the same team two times in a row to open his major league career. Stewart got the ball in the series finale last Sunday against the Tigers and started out very well, allowing just four hits through four scoreless frames. The wheels, however, came off in the fifth when he allowed four straight singles and a base on balls with one out before departing. This will be the home debut for the 23-year-old Stewart.
Game 4 | Blaine Hardy (Tigers) vs. Jake Odorizzi (Twins)
Blaine Hardy (4-5, 3.91 ERA) carded another rocky outing in his last start against the White Sox, surrendering four runs on five hits in just four innings and 57 pitches of work. Three of those four runs allowed came in the first inning, a frame in which the Tigers did not put together their cleanest of sequences defensively. That is now nine earned runs allowed in Hardy’s last two starts combined after tossing seven shutout innings against the Oakland Athletics on August 3. He will look to bounce back against a Twins team he has done well against this season (3.27 ERA in two starts vs. MIN).
The Tigers did not see Jake Odorizzi (5-7, 4.44 ERA) in the recently-completed series between these two rivals at Comerica Park last weekend. The 28-year-old has been up and down for much of this season and that trend has trickled into the second half. Odorizzi in five starts since the All-Star break has an ERA just a tick over 4.00. He has allowed two runs or fewer in four of those five but also has gone at least six innings once in that span. His lone start against the Tigers this year came in Detroit back on June 12, a five-inning, two-run performance.
HITTERS TO WATCH
The Tigers’ Niko Goodrum has not only been one of the surprise performers for the team in 2018 but he has really had a bone to pick with his former club. Goodrum in nine games against the Twins carries a 1.295 OPS, his second-highest mark against a single opponent this season. However, he has clubbed more homers (4) and driven in more runs (9) against Minnesota than any other team, including two bombs and five steaks last weekend.
Twins outfielder Jake Cave is a prime example of a young player who was given an opportunity and has taken it with authority. The 25-year-old former farmhand of the New York Yankees has a solid .753 OPS in 49 games of his maiden voyage of the majors this year, all while patrolling center field with Byron Buxton sidelined (again). Cave, however, has been a standout at home this year, a team-leading 1.022 OPS in 22 games with 11 of his 16 hits going for extra bases.
- Game 1 | Thu, Aug 16 @ 8:10 p.m. ET
- Game 2 | Fri, Aug 17 @ 8:10 p.m. ET
- Game 3 | Sat, Aug 18 @ 7:10 p.m. ET
- Game 4 | Sun, Aug 19 @ 2:10 p.m. ET
All games can be seen on Fox Sports Detroit unless otherwise noted. Be sure to check your local listings for regional radio broadcasts.