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Mets vs Tigers Preview

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After sweeping the Chicago White Sox to start the 2024 season the Detroit Tigers travel to New York to take on the Mets for a three-game set. The Tigers last started a season 3-0 in 2016 and according to Elias Sports, it’s the first time a team has won three straight one-run games to open a season sense Arizona in 2012. The Mets meanwhile are coming off a fiery series with the Milwaukee Brewers where they dropped all three games.

Monday, the Tigers will send right hander Reese Olson to the mound to face left hander Sean Manaea. Olson is looking to build on a strong rookie year where he posted nearly identical ERA and FIP, 3.99 and 4.01 respectively. Olson features two fastballs, a traditional four seam (28.5%) and  a sinking two seam (20.1%). He matches the fastballs with a slider (30.9%) and a change up (15.0%). He also has a curve, which he used sparingly in 2023 (5.6%). All of Olson’s pitches had a positive run value except the slider. Olson tends to be more of a “pitch to contact” type, however he still posted a solid 8.94 K/9 rate and has been in double digits during his minor league seasons.

Offensively the Tigers are facing Sean Manaea was a quietly effective pitcher In 2023 for the San Francisco Giants. For the year he posted a 4.44 ERA, but his underlying numbers suggest he was more effective with a FIP of 3.90. He relies on a three-pitch mix, fastball (56.7%), slider (26.0%), and a changeup (17.0%). For his career he has averaged a K/9 rate of approximately 9. The Tigers will need to be patient and work the count as Manaea relies on weak contact on pitches out of the zone.

Tuesday will be the return to the mound for right hander Casey Mize as he takes on right hander Adrian Houser. Mize, who is returning to the majors after essentially two lost seasons, is looking to reestablish himself as a frontline starter. During spring training all of Mizes pitches seemed to be playing up while he was sitting 96-97 with the heater compared with the 93-94 preinjury. Mize has a five-pitch mix, fastball, splitter, sinker, curveball, and slider. One thing to watch is how Mize will mix his pitches in 2024. His splitter was a major reason he was selected first overall in 2018, but as a pro it has been a challenge for him to replicate his colligate success.

Offensively the Tigers will face the veteran Houser who is making his Mets debut after five full seasons in Milwaukee. Houser has a career ERA of 4.00 with a K/9 rate of 7.33, he is a pitch to contact type who relies on his defense. Like Mize, Houser has a five-pitch mix, four seam (23.9%), two seam sinker (47.0%), slider (16.5%), curveball (12.5%), and the occasional splitter (4.0%).

Wednesday the Tigers will send left hander Tarik Skubal to face left hander Jose Quintana. Skubal will look to build on his dominant showing vs the White Sox on opening day. Skubal has a four-pitch mix, relying heavily on his 96-97 mph fastball (four seam and two seam) which he locates on both sides of the plate. He matches that with a change up, slider and occasional curve. In 2023, Skubal averaged 11.43 K/9 and punched out six in his six innings against the Sox.

Offensively the Tigers will face Quintana for the 24th time in his career and have put up decent numbers against him. He pitched 4.2 innings against Milwaukee giving up two earned runs. He has a four-pitch mix relying on his fastball (four seam and two seam) as well as a change up and a curveball. For his career he has a K/9 rate of nearly 8, so look for the Tigers to put a lot of balls in play against him.

The Mets have a potentially strong lineup even if they just posted a single run in two of the three games against the Brewers. Catcher Fransico Alvarez has started really hot hitting .500 to start the year with a home run and a double. Alvarez was a highly regarded prospect who looks like is putting all the pieces together. Pete Alonso and Starling Marte are also having nice starts to the 2024 season, both hitting over .300 with a homer. However, while they might not have gotten off to a hot start, the Mets also feature above average offensive players in Francisco Lindor, Jeff McNeil, Brandon Nimmo, and former top prospect Brett Baty. They also have an old friend Zack Short who is a part of the Mets bench.

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