Out goes the North Siders, and in comes the Twin Cities. After an impressive series win against the Cubs, the Tigers look to carry the momentum against the AL Central-leading Twins.
With a top-five ERA in the MLB, the Twins will look to tame the hot Tigers' bats of late. Let's take a glance at the Minnesota arms that will take the mound this upcoming weekend.
8/27 - Randy Dobnak (5-1, 1.78) vs. Matthew Boyd (0-4, 8.48)
Dobnak, a former local pitcher in the United Shore Professional Baseball League in Utica, Michigan, now finds himself as an ace on the Twins staff.
Dobnak's arsenal includes the typical fastball, changeup, and slider. The right-hander doesn't strike out a lot of batters due to his reasonably low velocity.
However, with his 62.4% groundball rate and his strong ability to induce soft contact, Dobnak is one of the best pitchers in the AL as of late.
In his lone career start against the Tigers in 2019, he allowed no runs on just one hit in six innings.
However, things have changed for the Tigers as they now have the highest hard-hit rate in the MLB. On Thursday night, Dobnak will face a much more formidable lineup.
8/28 - ? vs. Tarik Skubal (0-1, 10.38)
Until his injury, this spot probably would have been filled by Jake Odorizzi. But after getting hit in the chest by a line drive on August 21st against the Royals, he was sent to the IL.
So most likely, we'll see the Twins opt to use an opener in Matt Wisler, followed by Devin Smeltzer. Other guys tossing it well in the bullpen right now that you might see in this game and throughout the weekend include Tyler Clippard (1-0, 1.42), Trevor May (1-0, 3.00), and Tyler Duffey (1-0, 0.82).
8/29 - Kenta Maeda (4-0, 2.21) vs. Casey Mize (0-1, 7.04)
Maeda, like Dobnak, also has a tremendous ability to induce soft contact. As mentioned earlier, the Tigers lead the MLB in a hard-hit rate as a team, but no one does a better job of avoiding hard contact than Maeda.
The former Dodger possesses a five-pitch arsenal but typically utilizes his fastball, slider, and changeup. Maeda mixes in each of them at similar rates. We'll be in for quite the matchup on Saturday as Maeda, who recently took a no-hitter into the 9th inning against the Brewers just last week, faces the Tigers for only the 2nd time in his career.
8/30 - Rich Hill (1-1, 3.55) vs. Spencer Turnbull (3-2, 2.97)
Like Maeda, Rich Hill, a former Dodger, will toe the rubber in the final game of the series against the Tigers.
The 40-year-old has aged like wine in his MLB career, throwing up some of his best stats in the past five years. The high velocity has never been there for Hill, but that doesn't matter.
His low fly ball and high ground ball rate have counteracted against his low strikeout rate, and he's still a threat to anyone in the batter's box.
However, with all that said, his hard-hit rate has been subpar, so if there were anyone for the Tigers to take advantage of in the upcoming series, it would be Rich Hill on Sunday.
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