When: 6:40 p.m. Friday.
Where: Comerica Park in Detroit.
TV: Bally Sports Detroit.
Radio: WXYT-AM (1270 in Detroit; Tigers radio affiliates).
2B Andy Ibáñez
RF Riley Greene
DH Miguel Cabrera
3B Zack Short
SS Javier Báez
CF Parker Meadows
Who to follow: Evan Petzold, Free Press beat writer on Tigers.
Game notes: If it wasn’t for Framber Valdez’s start on Aug. 1, there might be some serious panic in H-Town about “The Framchise,” as Valdez is affectionately known. That night in Houston, Valdez no-hit the Cleveland Guardians — we know, points off on the degree of difficulty —while striking out seven, walking one and facing the minimum 27 batters. In his six other starts since the All-Star break, however, Valdez has been hit early and often; he has given up 45 hits and 30 earned runs over 34⅔ innings — that’s a 7.79 ERA.
Something is definitely off; the lefty has been among the MLB leaders in ground-ball rate over the past few seasons but mustered just seven grounders — and 11 flyballs — in his most recent start, a Saturday loss to the Seattle Mariners in which he allowed six runs on 10 hits and a walk. After getting ground balls at a 70.1% rate in 2021 and 66.5% last season — when he finished fifth in AL Cy Young voting — Valdez is getting them just 53.8% of the time, a career low, while his 16 home runs allowed (with nine since the All-Star break) are already a career high.
That’s the good news for the Tigers. The bad news? Valdez has a history of getting right against them; in six appearances vs. the Tigers, he has a career 3.00 ERA with 33 strikeouts over 33 innings. That includes an April start in which he struck out nine over seven innings while allowing three runs (two earned). Then again, he was outdueled in that one by Matt Manning, Jason Foley, Chasen Shreve and Trey Wingenter, who held the Astros to two runs total.
Manning gets the start against the Astros again today; he’s coming off a strong start in which he held the Guardians (see above) to just five hits and two runs over six innings. (He has a no-hitter of his own this season, too, sort of: Manning threw 6⅔ hitless innings in the Tigers’ combined no-no against the Toronto Blue Jays on July 8.) Against the Astros on April 4, he lasted only 5⅔ innings, but held Houston to six hits and two runs while striking out four and walking two. Both runs were driven in by budding star Kyle Tucker; the 26-year-old had a single, a home run and a walk off Manning in that game.
The Tigers’ series against the defending World Series champs (this time without any trash-can banging!) continues with a night game Saturday featuring the return of Wayne State and St. Clair Shores Lakeview alumnus Hunter Brown and then a day game Sunday featuring the return of longtime Tigers ace Justin Verlander. After that, the Tigers jump right into a series against the New York Yankees, World Series champs in 2009 , and losers of 10 of their past 11 games. The Astros, meanwhile, head to Boston for a rematch with the Red Sox, with whom they split a four-game series this week.
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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers lineup vs. Houston Astros: Miguel Cabrera in at DH