After several years of utter domination, the Tigers have become a surprisingly tough opponent for the Guardians this season. They’ll have a chance to end that narrative decisively, though, with seven games against their division rival over the next nine days.
The Guards did finally show signs of life against the Tigers in their last matchup, sweeping Detroit and outscoring them 20-5 in the three wins. Prior to that series, they were 2-7 against the Tigers.
Other teams have no trouble slapping the Tigers around this season, partially because of a massive list of injuries, and partially because the rebuild they thought was over looks like it might be restarting. As of this writing, starting pitchers Beau Brieske, Rony Garcia, Casey Mize, Michael Pineda, Tarik Skubal, and Spencer Turnbull all sit on the injured list, along with reliever Kyle Funkhouser and position players Austin Meadows and Jake Rogers. It’s hard for any team to overcome almost a dozen injuries, but it’s even harder for a team as thin as the Tigers.
The result has been another season flushed down the toilet as even the debut of highly touted prospect Spencer Torkelson couldn’t create a spark. The Tork Man (as they probably call him, I don’t know) was demoted back to Triple-A after a .197/.282/.295 slash in 83 major-league games.
Fellow rookie Riley Greene has a little more success, but he’s hardly taken the league by storm — though he did traumatize the Guardians with a three-run home run in mid-July. He’s cemented himself in the lineup with a .239/.307/.356 slash and three home runs in 44 games.
Detroit’s offense currently sports two players with a wRC+ over 100: Dustin Garneau and Harold Castro, the former of whom only has 11 plate appearances. The next highest is the injured Meadows at 99, followed by catcher and old friend Eric Haase at 96. The Tigers pitching staff has all the injuries, yet the replacements have pitched well enough to keep them out of the pitching basement. It’s the lineup that has dragged them down to the depths.
For the Guardians, this series (plus the four next week) represents a chance to jump ahead of the Twins in the AL Central. If they can find the same mojo they did in the last Detroit series, they can probably count on the Twins losing at least one game against the Dodgers in the next two days.
Also worth noting, Aaron Civale will be returning from an injured list stint that has kept him sidelined since July 13. He gets the start on Wednesday and will look to improve upon the 6.17 ERA he put up in 54 innings so far this season.
Team at a glance
- Record: 43-67 (14th in AL)
- Runs Scored: 354
- Run Differential: -130 (13th in AL)
- Last 10: 3-7
- Slash: .226/.283/.333
- wOBA: .273 (15th in AL)
- wRC+: 75 (15th in AL)
- ERA: 4.05 (11th in AL)
- SIERA: 4.22 (14th in AL)
- K-BB%: 11.4% (14th in AL)
Tuesday, Aug. 9, 7:10 p.m. ET: LHP Tyler Alexander vs. RHP Shane Bieber
Wednesday, Aug. 10, 7:10 p.m. ET: RHP Drew Hutchison vs. RHP Aaron Civale
Thursday, Aug. 11, 1:10 p.m. ET: TBD vs. RHP Zach Plesac
How many games will the Guardians win against the Tigers?
This poll is closed