Ahh thank the good lord COVID didn’t take away this um, natural rivalry! The Pirates and Tigers play every season in a home and home since MLB has decided these two clubs are rivals and largely the Pirates have done well in the series.
Typically when these teams get together it’s a time to talk about who the Pirates might use as a DH and watching Miggy struggle to field a position when the series swings back to PNC Park. Obviously those topics are off the table now.
The Tigers haven’t played a game since August 2nd and tonight begin a stretch of 26 games in 25 days. Fallout from the Cardinals positive tests have created two factors for the Tigers to deal with and potentially exploit. On one hand, they were able to rest everyone for a rare break, on the other only 10 games into their schedule at 5-5 and just knocking rust off the first time, they could be starting back at square 1.
While the Pirates have obviously had their own set of issues sitting at 3-10 and losing 3/4 of their pitching staff to injury, ok maybe not quite that much but you get the point. Some of the bats seem to be waking up, Evans continues to hit and Newman has seen his playing time cut back a bit by Rodriguez but the two of them continue to find it a bit.
More importantly, Polanco, Bell and Reynolds have started making hard contact, this trio right here hold the ultimate success of the offense in their hands so anytime they take a step forward its hard to ignore.
Back to the Tigers because we cover what the Bucs are up to all the time. The Tigers have slow walked their starting pitching into this season, not allowing any of them to exceed 90 pitches as of yet, the closest being Matthew Boyd who will start tonight, 8 days since his last appearance. The Tigers need him to be what he was last year as he is considered part of the next core.
Miguel Cabrera has started the season 5 for 35 and while he’s on the downside of his illustrious career, he still has the most potential to take over a series.
As I stated earlier Matthew Boyd will be starting for the Tigers against Chad Kuhl for the Bucs but beyond this game the Tigers haven’t announced who will take the mound for them. There is some chance they call up stud prospect Casey Mize but I wouldn’t bet on it.
C.J. Cron homered twice in the opening series against the Reds but since he’s gone 1-18 with four walks and eight strikeouts. He has history against Saturday’s starter Derek Holland going 2 for 18 against him and against Sunday’s starter Joe Musgrove he has put together the same, 2 for 18.
Getting Cron going is important as he, much like Boyd are expected to be part of the solution long term in Detroit.
This could be a good series for the Bucs if they pitch, I know big if.