Where: Comerica Park, Detroit Michigan
When: Wednesday, May 15, 2019, 7:10 pm Eastern
We have an American League contest as our focus for Wednesday when the Houston Astros and Detroit Tigers meet under threatening skies and game time temps in the mid-sixties. This review is being written prior to the start of Tuesday night’s game and all stats and opinions are reflective of that Tuesday night matchup.
Houston is in first place in the American League West and is planning on former Tiger Justin Verlander to tame the Tigers on Wednesday night. Detroit is undecided as to who is going to start this ballgame and we’re going to have to assume this will be a game involving an “opener” and the bullpen. I’m the Flash and will be discussing this game with you today.
Houston Six Game Winning Streak
The Astros got off to a slow start to their 2019 season but have turned on the jets and have a 6.5 game lead over the Los Angeles Angels. Houston has won nine of its last ten games and on Tuesday evening hopes to extend a six-game winning streak.
Houston has some injuries but the most significant is the hamstring injury that has landed second baseman Jose Altuve on the 10-day injured list. Altuve is a former gold glove infielder and when healthy is one of the club’s best hitters.
Verlander (6-1, 2.51 ERA) is having a fantastic season and is coming off a strong, seven inning, one-hit shutout at home over the Texas Rangers. Verlander struck out eight and walked two for his sixth win of the season. Verlander has a 2.51 ERA and his 3.51 xFIP suggests maybe some regression is headed his way at some point this season but probably not on Wednesday against the Tigers.
Verlander is striking out 10.67 batters per nine innings pitched and that could spell disaster for a Tigers club with a 25.5 percent strikeout rate. Verlander has given up some bombs this season and allows 1.57 homers per nine innings pitched but it’s unlikely Detroit and its .140 ISO can take advantage of this on Wednesday night.
Tigers Rebuild Going Well
The Tigers are in season two and a half in their rebuild and Detroit’s record of 18-21 is good enough for fourth place in the American League Central Division and just 6.5 games behind the Minnesota Twins for the top spot in the Central Division. The Tigers have lost six of their last ten games and is hoping to end a one-game losing streak on Tuesday night.
Detroit has injuries but no significant injuries to report for Tuesday night against the Astros.
It looks like Detroit is going with an opener and then turn to its bullpen against Houston on Wednesday night. Detroit relievers have a 5.51 ERA but their 4.91 xFIP suggests maybe the Tigers bullpen has been a bit unlucky this season but I don’t think they feel all that lucky when they know they must pitch against Houston.
The Tigers bullpen strikes out 8.43 hitters per nine innings pitched but might not be able to take advantage of Houston and its 18 percent strikeout rate this season. What might hurt Detroit is the 1.71 bombs per nine innings pitched to go along with 4.44 walks per nine innings against a Houston side with a .226 ISO this season.
- Tigers are 13-39 in their last 52 vs. American League West.
- Tigers are 1-4 in their last 5 home games vs. a right-handed starter.
- Tigers are 1-5 in their last 6 games vs. a right-handed starter.
- Astros are 22-5 in Verlander’s last 27 road starts.
- Astros are 4-1 in Verlander’s last 5 starts following a Quality Start in his last appearance.
- Astros are 4-1 in Verlanders last 5 starts vs. American League Central.