Detroit Tigers (24-38) vs. Texas Rangers (29-33)
When: 7:10 p.m. Thursday.
Where: Comerica Park in Detroit.
TV: Bally Sports Detroit.
Radio: WXYT-FM (97.1) (subsidiaries of Tigers Radio).
Prediction for the first pitch: Sure, high 80s.
Possible pitchers: Tigers RHP Beau Brieske (1-5, ERA 4.34) vs. Rangers LHP Martín Perez (4-2, ERA 2.18).
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• Box Score
Lineup of the Tigers
1. Victor Reyes, RF
2. Willi Castro, CF
3.Miguel Cabrera, DH
4. Javier Baez, SS
5. Robbie Grossman, LF
6.Jonathan Schoop, 2B
7. Spencer Torkelson, 1B
8. Harald Castro, 3B
9. Eric Haase, C
Game Notes: Of all the guaranteed money the Rangers spent in the offseason — more than $570 million over the next decade — the most cost-effective was the $4 million the team gave left-hander Martin Perez for a season in his gave second stint in Texas.
After two mediocre seasons with the Red Sox, Perez excelled with the Rangers, scoring 60 strikeouts and 18 walks over 74⅓ innings with only two homers allowed. That includes an Astros shutout on May 20 and four more starts of at least seven innings. He’s coming off his rockiest outing of the year, however, when the White Sox backed him up for 12 hits and two walks en route to seven runs (six earned) over five innings on Saturday. Still, the Tigers’ roster doesn’t quite compare to the ChiSox’s, as evidenced by the South Siders’ 27-6 tie in their last three games at Comerica Park.
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The Tigers have actually been better against lefties this season — with a .251/.304/.646 slash — than against righties. (That’s not to say they were good against lefties; that .646 OPS is the second worst against lefties in franchise history, behind only the 1917 squad, who have a .609 OPS.) Really, it’s mostly because, that they were so, so very bad against righties: a .211/.269/.580 OPS in 1,626 plate appearances this season. Not only would that be the worst OPS vs. right-hander ever, it’s not even close, it’s 65 points below .645 from 1972 (the last season before the AL took over the DH) and 66 below .646 from 1942 (when the most talented Tigers were). hitters served in World War II).
Compare that to the league splits of .699 vs. righties and .711 vs. lefties, and you’ve probably already figured it out: The Tigers will fight at plate regardless of what hand the pitcher is using. But there is hope for tonight based on some Tigers’ track record against Perez.
Start with Miguel Cabrera playing 4/11 – with two doubles – against Perez, although he also drew seven walks for, say, Celebration 0.611 Base Percentage. Then there’s Robbie Grossman, who hit five in 19 career at-bats against Perez, with a double and two home runs. (In the Tigers’ last game against Perez, on Aug. 5, 2021, Grossman scored in the first and was hit by a throw in the second.) And finally, there’s Victor Reyes — who has gone 7-for-17 since returning from the injured list on Saturday – with five career goals in nine at-bats against Perez, including a treble last year.
The Tigers, meanwhile, are sending rookie Beau Brieske up the mound for his ninth career start. After several tough games in May, the 2019 27th-round pick made two sharp starts against powerful attacks, keeping the Yankees scoreless in two rounds for six innings on June 4 and the Blue Jays for 5⅔ on Saturday. There’s one big challenge the Rangers are presenting that the Yanks and Jays haven’t had: Texas leads the majors in steals (57), well ahead of the No. 2 team (the Cardinals, who started Wednesday with 47). The active main culprit is Marcus Semien, who collected $175 million from Rangers last November; He has 11 steals while only getting caught once.
After Thursday night’s game, the Tigers and Rangers meet again on Friday night, followed by a 4:10 p.m. start on Saturday and a 1:40 p.m. start on Sunday. The Tigers then travel to Boston for a three-game series Monday through Wednesday, while the Rangers have a day off before traveling home to host the Phillies on Tuesday.
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