Wednesday, May 29, 2024
5-Hour Energy

MLB Preview: Detroit Tigers (20-23) at Washington Nationals (19-27)

DETROIT TIGERS NOTES:

TIGERS DROP SATURDAY MATINEE: The Tigers lost to the Nationals, 5-2, on Saturday afternoon. Spencer Torkelson finished the game 2×4, including a two-run homer in the first inning. Jonathan Schoop also had two hits, while Eric Haase and Matt Vierling each had one knock. Alex Faedo started for Detroit and took the loss, allowing three runs on five hits with four strikeouts in 5.0 innings.

TORK TIME: Spencer Torkelson drove in both of Detroit’s runs in yesterday’s game, hitting a two-run homer in the first inning and finishing the game 2×4. Torkelson has hit safely in 11 of his last 15 games, posting six multi-hit performances over that span. In his last 15 games, Torkelson is hitting .310/.355/.517 with six doubles, two homers and nine RBI.

ALEXANDER THE GREAT: Alex Lange closed out Friday’s win, throwing 1.1 perfect innings with two strikeouts to notch his eighth save of the season and his first career multi-inning save. Lange has not allowed a run in 15 straight games, the longest streak of his career and the longest active streak among Major League relievers. Over those 15 outings, he has thrown 14.2 scoreless innings with five hits allowed, six walks and 25 strikeouts. Entering today’s game, Lange ranks tied for seventh in the American League with eight saves.

TIGERS AND NATIONALS: The Tigers and Nationals conclude their only series of the season today. The two teams last met in 2019 in Detroit with Washington winning two-of-three games. Detroit has a 13-11 lead in the all-time series, but Washington has won five of the seven meetings at Nationals Park.

INTERLEAGUE ACTION: The Tigers continue their interleague schedule today against the Nationals. Detroit is 11-4 against National League foes this season, including a 4-1 record against NL East teams. The Tigers have finished with a winning record against NL opponents in each of the last two seasons.

ON THE ROAD: The Tigers are 1-1 on their six-game road trip, which includes three games at Washington (1-1) and three games at Kansas City (May 22-24). Detroit has a 10-13 record away from Comerica Park this season. As a team, the Tigers are hitting .222/.287/.344 on the road, while the pitching staff has a 4.46 ERA (200.0IP/99ER).

ON DECK: After today’s game, the Tigers continue their road trip tomorrow as they open a three-game series against the Royals. Detroit went 10-9 against Kansas City last season with the two teams splitting 10 meetings at Kauffman Stadium.

TIGERS ON THE IL:

  • RHP Beau Brieske (right upper arm discomfort, 60-day IL on March 30, retroactive to March 27)
  • OF Kerry Carpenter (right shoulder sprain, 10-day IL on April 29, retroactive to April 28)
  • RHP Matt Manning (right foot fracture, 60-day IL on April 12)
  • OF Austin Meadows (anxiety, 60-day IL on April 8, retroactive to April 7)
  • RHP Casey Mize (right elbow sprain, 60-day IL on February 17)
  • RHP Freddy Pacheco (right elbow sprain, 60-day IL on March 27)
  • LHP Tarik Skubal (left elbow strain, 60-day IL on March 14)
  • RHP Spencer Turnbull (neck discomfort, 15-day IL on May 12, retroactive to May 7)
  • RHP Trey Wingenter (right biceps tendinitis, 15-day IL on April 22, retroactive to April 19)

TODAY’S TIGERS STARTING PITCHER – #43 Joey Wentz • 1-3, 6.38 ERA (36.2IP/26ER)

  • Wentz will make his ninth start of the season today in the series finale at Washington.
  • Did not factor into the decision in his most recent start last Sunday vs. Seattle, allowing three runs on six hits with a walk and three strikeouts in 2.2 innings.
  • Will be making his first career appearance against the Nationals today.
  • Saw his first Major League action in 2022, starting seven games and posting a 2-2 record with a 3.03 ERA (32.2IP/11ER) and 27 strikeouts…
    also appeared in 12 games, including 11 starts, with Triple A Toledo and went 2-2 with a 3.17 ERA (48.1IP/17ER) and 53 strikeouts.
  • Pitched in the Arizona Fall League following the 2022 season and made three starts for Salt River, throwing 12.0 scoreless innings with two hits allowed, four walks and 14 strikeouts.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS NOTES:

BACK IN THE WIN COLUMN
The Washington Nationals beat the Detroit Tigers, 5-2, on Saturday afternoon to snap their four-game losing streak…Trailing 2-0 after the first inning, Washington scored five unanswered runs the rest of the game to secure the victory.

  • Patrick Corbin (6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 3 SO) earned his third win and recorded his 1,500th career strikeout while Lane Thomas (3-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI) and Jeimer Candelario (2-for-4, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, R) led the offense.
  • The Nationals will enjoy a day off on Monday before welcoming the San Diego Padres to Nationals Park for a three-game series starting Tuesday.

THE CANDY MAN
Jeimer Candelario is 12-for-23 (.522) with four doubles, a triple, two homers, five RBI, one walk and five runs scored across his last six games…He has at least one extra-base hit in five of the six games.

  • He’s raised his slash line from .211/.276/.354 on May 15 to .253/.310/.447 entering play today.
  • The 12 hits in six games are a career-best and are the most he’s had in a seven-game span as well.
  • On the season, Candelario leads the Nationals, is tied for fourth among all MLB switch hitters and tied for 10th among all NL hitters with 20 extra-base hits.

STREAKIN’ LANE TRAIN
Lane Thomas has reached safely in a career-high 17 straight games and has hit safely in 15 of the 17…Thomas is hitting .348 (24-for-69) with three doubles, a triple, five homers, 12 RBI, four walks, one hit by pitch, two stolen bases and 15 runs scored during this streak.

  • Thomas ranks 10th in the National League with 50 hits, while his .292 average is just outside of the top 10 (13th).

CHASING 1,000
With 996 in hand, Corey Dickerson is four hits away from 1,000 for his career…When he collects hit no. 1,000, he will become the 12th player in Nationals history (2005-pres.) to record his 1,000th hit in a Nationals uniform, according to the Elias Sports Bureau…The last to do it was Brian Dozier in 2019.

  • Since returning from the Injured List, Dickerson is 4-for-12 (.333) with a double, homer, three RBI and three runs in four games.

LEFT IS RIGHT
The Nationals rank third among Major League clubs in batting average (.292) and fourth in on-base percentage (.355) against left-handed pitching this season.

  • Dominic Smith ranks fifth (.320) and Luis García ranks sixth (.317) among National League left-handed hitters against left-handed pitchers this season.
  • Lane Thomas is tied for fifth in the National League with 18 hits against lefties and ninth with a .360 average against left-handed pitchers.

DEFENSE NOT RESTING
Thanks to strong infield defense so far this season, Nationals opponents have a .230 batting average on ground balls, seventh-best in the National League (MLB avg: .242)…In 2022, the Nationals had the third-highest opponents’ batting average on ground balls in Major League Baseball (.260).

  • Washington ranks fifth in Major League Baseball with 44 double plays turned this season.

TODAY’S STARTING PITCHER – #40 JOSIAH GRAY
Right-hander was acquired by the Nationals from the Los Angeles Dodgers at the 2021 Trade Deadline…Was Los Angeles’ No. 2 prospect entering 2021 and its Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2019…Was originally selected by Cincinnati in the second round (No. 72 overall) of the 2019 First-Year Player Draft out of Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York…Was acquired by the Dodgers on his 21st birthday, Dec. 21, 2018…Is the Player Ambassador to the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy.

LAST START
Allowed two runs (one earned) on seven hits with five strikeotus and three walks in 7.0 innings of work on May 16 at Miami…Did not factor into the decision as the Nationals lost, 5-4…It was his second consecutive start of at least 7.0 innings.

RANKS
Gray ranks seventh in the National League with a 2.73 ERA…Paces the Nationals staff in opponents’ batting average (.246), opponents’ slugging percentage (.377), opponents’ OPS (.701) and WHIP (1.35).

ON A HEATER
Gray is in the midst of the best stretch of his career, pitching to a 2.08 ERA (11 ER/47.2 IP) with 41 strikeouts and just two home runs allowed in his last eight games.

vs. DETROIT
Has never faced the Detroit Tigers.

SLIDER STATS
Gray’s sider ranks eighth among all Major League pitches (min. 50 PA) with a 21.7% hard hit rate and ranks 12th among Major League sliders with a .169 opponents’ batting average.

THE STORY OF HIS CUTTER
As told to Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post in a recent story: “At the start of spring training, Gray debuted a cutter he learned from Erasmo Ramírez, who drew his grip on a baseball Gray practiced with until he lost it at the gym during the offseason. Gray joked that some Florida teenager could be throwing Ramírez’s cutter in high school games. Yet by the time he misplaced the ball, Gray knew where to put his fingers. The pitch felt like a natural complement to his slider, moving more side-to-side while his gyroscopic slider drops almost straight down.”

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