Series Preview: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Detroit Tigers 5/17-5/19

Series Preview: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Detroit Tigers 5/17-5/19

The Detroit Tigers (21-22) will come to Chase Field for the first time since the 2022 season to play a three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks (21-23). Last June, the two teams played at Comerica Park, where the D-backs swept the Tigers. Detroit had a great start to the season, winning five of its first six games, but it is now 16-22 and has dropped three of its last four. It was shut out in two straight games in its last series against the Miami Marlins, failing to support strong outings from young starters Reese Olson and Casey Mize. The Diamondbacks secured a 2-1 series win against the Cincinnati Reds, bouncing back from a rough 14-20 start with a strong 7-3 performance in their last ten games, including a 5-1 record against the Reds.

Tigers Offense

After Wednesday’s game against the Marlins, the Tigers are performing below the league average in most hitting statistics. They score 3.91 runs per game, which is lower than the league average of 4.33. Their batting average is .225 (24th), on-base percentage is .297 (27th), slugging percentage is .358 (25th), and OPS is .655 (26th) out of 30 MLB teams in 43 games. In May, the Tigers scored 45 runs in 13 games, averaging 3.46 runs per game. This average would rank 29th throughout the season, ahead of only the Chicago White Sox, who have the lowest offensive statistics at 2.93 runs per game. The Tigers’ infield hitters have been a significant concern due to their lack of production. Outfielders Riley Greene, Mark Canha, and Kerry Carpenter have been some of the Tigers’ most consistent hitters, while those who play on the infield have consistently disappointed. Shortstop Javier Báez has the worst on-base percentage (.200), slugging percentage (.222), and OPS (.422) in MLB among qualified hitters. He also had the second-worst batting average (.167), just ahead of Randy Arozarena. Second baseman Colt Keith has been marginally better with a .171/.234/.197 slash line. First baseman Spencer Torkelson, who didn’t hit a home run until the 40th game of the season, is hitting .220 with a .286 on-base percentage while leading the team in at-bats.

Diamondbacks Offense

The D-backs offense has come in waves throughout the season. They have struggled to find any consistency. They are averaging 4.89 runs per game, which ranks 5th best in MLB. However, this statistic is misleading. They scored 70 runs in just five of their 44 games, while in their other 39 games, they’ve only scored an average of 3.7 runs per game. Ketel Marte has been a guy that Manager Torey Lovullo can count on to get the job done at the plate. He slashes .298/.337/.526 with nine home runs and twenty-four RBIs. Other than Marte, Kevin Newman has been hot at the plate. Nine of his 22 total hits have gone for extra bases. The one thing the Diamondbacks miss the most is their young stud, Corbin Carroll. He is just 2 for his last 20 (.100) with two runs, three total bases, 1 XBH, 1 BB, and 2 K. Overall, Carroll is just 21 for 117 (.179) over his last 30 ballgames with 28 K. He is back below the Mendoza Line (.193) on the year.

Probable Pitching Matchups

Friday, May 17, 6:40 P.M. MST

Tarik Skubal (DET) 5-0, 2.02 ERA vs. Ryne Nelson (ARI) 2-2, 5.33 ERA

In his last outing against the Houston Astros, Skubal received the W and went 6.1 IP with seven strikeouts and gave up two runs. Skubal is currently one of the top candidates for the AL Cy Young, trailing Seth Lugo of the Royals. After returning from Flexor tendon surgery last year, the lefty performed exceptionally well, going 7-3 with a 2.80 ERA in 15 starts. Skubal has been in great form this year, boasting 60 strikeouts with just eight walks. He leads the American League with a 0.857 WHIP and a 2.01 FIP. Skubal is one of the elite left-handed pitchers in the league, so the D-backs will need to bring their A-game. After being taken off the disabled list with an elbow injury, Nelson has made two starts. He has tossed 9.2 innings and allowed 18 hits, including two home runs, in his two games. Nevertheless, he has struck out six batters while walking only one. Nelson spent spring training honing his harder slider. Still, Statcast is categorizing the pitch as a cutter. The velocity on the pitch has gone from 85.6 to 91.1, but the outcomes are simply lacking.

Saturday, May 18, 5:10 P.M. MST

Jack Flaherty (DET) 0-3, 3.88 ERA vs. Zac Gallen (ARI) 5-2, 2.86 ERA

Flaherty received the loss in his last game against the Astros, giving up three earned runs on seven hits and striking out seven through 6.2 innings of work. Flaherty’s strikeout numbers are among the league’s best, with an 11.65 K/9 and 10.50 K/BB ratio. He has gotten little to no run support during his starts as the Tigers are scoring only 2.92 runs in the innings he has pitched. The 0-3 record is an inaccurate portrayal of his performance. Zac Gallen remains the Diamondbacks’ best pitcher. In his most recent appearance, he excelled, allowing the potent Orioles offense to manage only two runs in six innings. Gallen is at his best when pitching at Chase Field. In 17.0 innings pitched at home, he has only given up one run, an RBI double by Ryan McMahon on Opening Day.

Sunday, May 19, 1:10 P.M MST

Matt Manning (DET) 0-1, 4.37 ERA vs. Jordan Montgomery (ARI) 2-2, 4.76 ERA

This will be Manning’s fifth start of the year and his 2nd start of the week. Just before his most recent start on May 13, he was called up from Triple-A for the third time this season after Kenta Maeda was placed on the IL. In 5.2 innings, he gave up three runs on nine hits and one walk while facing the Marlins. Matt Manning’s increased velocity and strikeout improvements are something worth noting. Manning throws a four-seam at 93.8 MPH and relies heavily on his breaking ball, which he uses 34% of the time. Jordan Montgomery allowed three runs on six hits and three walks while striking out seven over 5.1 innings in a no-decision versus the Reds on Monday. In his last start, Montgomery dusted off his slider, a pitch he had not used in a game for years since his days with the New York Yankees. The veteran primarily uses sinker-changeup-curveball, with occasional use of cutters and four-seamers. So, the slider appeared out of nowhere. Except for a six-run outing against the Dodgers that raises his ERA, he has mostly lived up to his reputation as a reliable starter who would pitch to the deeper parts of games and avoid hard contact.

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