Pittsburgh Pirates at Detroit Tigers Series Preview

5-16-23 – By Christian Wolf – @CWolfPGH on Twitter

When & Who

Pittsburgh Pirates (22-19) at Detroit Tigers (18-21)

Game 1 – (5/16, 6:40 EST)

Probable Pitchers:

For the Pirates – Luis Ortiz (0-1, 3.60 ERA)

For the Tigers – Michael Lorenzen (1-2, 4.18)

Game 2 – (5/17, 1:10 EST)

Probable Pitchers:

For the Pirates – Rich Hill (3-3, 4.35 ERA )

For the Tigers – Eduardo Rodriguez (4-2, 1.57 ERA)

Team Trends

Detroit has won three of their last four series, including against the Guardians and Mets. The Tigers play in easily the worst division in baseball, with the Twins being currently the only team in the AL Central over .500. The Tigers have been playing good baseball as of late, winning six of their last ten games, but have a starting rotation that ranks toward the bottom of the league in ERA. Detroit’s offense isn’t any better, ranking 29th in team OPS, 28th in home runs, and 25th in team batting average. Despite this, they’ve found a way to string wins together as of late, which speaks more volume than stats.

The Pirates are coming off a series loss to the Orioles, where they saw good starting pitching but more bad offense, with the series’ final game being the team’s best offensive performance, and still only producing four runs. The Pirates rotation ranks in the top ten of the league in ERA and has also pitched the 5th most innings in baseball this year. The Pirates are hitting just .241 as a team, which ranks 17th in baseball, and have a team OPS of .724, good for 15th. The Bucs will look to take advantage of a below-average Detroit pitching staff, in what is a brief, yet still significant, two-game series against the Tigers.

Who’s Hot

For the Tigers – Riley Greene – Greene collected six hits in thirteen at-bats in the Tigers’ most recent series against the Mariners and has gone 9-for-28 (.321) over his past seven games.

For the Pirates – Jack Suwinski – Suwinski had just nine at-bats against the Orioles, but still went 3-for-9 (.333) and also collected three walks during the series, boosting his OPS to .855 for the season.

Who’s Not

For the Tigers – Javier Baez – Baez went 3-for-13 against the Mariners, and is just seven for his last thirty trips to the plate (.233), with no walks during that stretch.

For the Pirates – Ke’Bryan Hayes – Hayes had just one hit against the Orioles, finishing 1-for-11. His last seven games have also produced less than ideal results, going 6-for-25 in that stretch, with seven strikeouts.

Series Overview & Prediction

It’s pretty funny seeing Detroit being three games under .500, yet just four games out of first place in the AL Central Division. Then again, it’s hard to believe that the Pirates are only a game outside of the NL Central despite the slide they’ve been on. Detroit has certainly been the better team as of late, and it’s hard to justify the Pirates winning the two games here just based on their one game win in Baltimore.  

This seems like an important series for the Pirates, despite it being May and despite the Pirates not having high expectations for the season. A split here seems fair, although all of Pittsburgh would like to win both and all of Detroit would like to win both, pulling both teams closer to the top of their own division.

But the Bucs need to start to get offensive output, and not just rely on their starters to go six or seven innings giving up a run or less. Maybe Sunday was a sign of positivity? Let’s hope.

Published by Christian Wolf

Pittsburgh Pirates - InsidetheBucsBasement

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