As the Tigers head back home to Detroit, the Milwaukee Brewers follow right behind for another two-game series.
We saw these teams face off last week and split the two-game series.
In game one, the Tigers offense pounded every pitcher on the mound, including starter Josh Lindblom, racking up 12 runs total.
Twenty-four hours later, the Brewers took revenge led by starter Adrian Houser. The Brew Crew walked ten times on their path to an 8-5 victory.
Initially, the Tigers were supposed to see the same two pitchers in this series that they saw in the last series. Houser does get the chance to improve to 2-0 against the Tigers this season.
However, Lindblom’s retry will have to wait as the Brewers opted to skip his start due to a day off on Monday.
Instead, 25-year Corbin Burnes headlines Wednesday’s encounter.
9/8 - Spencer Turnbull (3-2, 3.89) vs. Adrian Houser (1-3, 4.97)
A rematch of last Wednesday’s game, unless searching for a repeat 8-5 loss, the Tigers’ primary objective is simple- don’t walk ten batters!
Along with hitting two batters, the ballclub’s command floundered. The offense, on the other hand, started strong and went stagnant as soon as Houser left. They reached base just once in the four innings facing the Milwaukee bullpen.
I already dove into Houser’s analytics in my last preview, which you can read here, but I’ll brief you quickly:
Houser induces a ton of ground balls. I mean, A TON. He leads the MLB in ground ball rate at 64.6% and doesn’t strike out many hitters. Which means you’ll need to make good contact to defeat him.
In the first matchup versus Houser, the Tigers did what the last couple teams did well; they simply put the ball in play.
Detroit didn’t necessarily hit the ball hard like you usually need to against contact pitchers, but when you put the ball in play enough, opportunities arise to get on base.
Houser only struck out two, but he also allowed two infield singles in the first inning, which led to three runs in the first.
If the Tigers want another win against Houser, grinding out at-bats and making hard contact will be essential.
9/9 - Matthew Boyd (1-5, 6.64) vs. Corbin Burnes (2-0, 2.35)
Corbin Burnes’ three years in the Majors have been… interesting to say the least. Burnes flourished in his rookie year back in 2018. Appearing in 30 games, the former relief pitcher debuted with a 2.61 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and an opposing batting average of just .199.
Burnes’s prior success earned him a spot in the 2019 season rotation, where he ultimately failed to embrace his new role.
Burnes struggled mightily, losing his place in the starting five in less than a month.
He finished with an 8.82 ERA, and batters hit a whopping .330 against him. Burnes moved back and forth from the majors to the minors throughout the season.
However, in 2020, the revamped Burnes finds himself back on top and back in the starting rotation.
Making eight appearances and starting his last four, the California native holds an ERA of 2.35 and a WHIP of 1.04.
In 2019, teams crushed his fastball and forced Burnes to reinvent his game, so he developed his cutter into what is now one of his finest pitches.
Along with his cutter, he throws a two and four-seamer, slider, curveball, and changeup, all of which he mixes into his arsenal at regular intervals.
Burnes strikes out a ton of guys and has an average ground ball rate, but his incredible bounce back home run rate has propelled him to stardom.
Last season almost 40% of his fly balls left the park compared to just 3% this season. He allowed 17 home runs in 49 innings in 2019, compared to only one in 38.1 innings in 2020.
Many of Burnes’s vital analytical stats last year, i.e., hard-hit rate, ground ball to fly ball ratio, and whiff percentage hardly changed this season compared to the previous season.
These similar stats, along with a dazzling home run rate, means now that he’s kept the home runs to a minimum, Burnes is once again the young gun we saw back in 2018.
Get the latest Detroit Tigers news by joining our community. Click "Follow" at the top right of our Tigers Baseball Report page. Mobile users click the notification bell. Be sure to follow us on Twitter @TigersreportSI