Let’s make predictions for Tuesday’s matchup and break down why the Pirates are a decent value.
The Pirates and Tigers both got back on track Sunday, leading into an interleague series in Detroit. Can either team start to build some momentum with so much of the season still ahead? Luis Ortiz is set to start for Pittsburgh on Tuesday, with Michael Lorenzen getting the ball for Detroit. The Tigers are slight home favorites at -120 on the moneyline.
Pirates vs. Tigers Prediction
As much as the Pirates have struggled of late, they feel like the better pick here. Pittsburgh appeared to right the ship on Sunday with another dominant outing by Mitch Keller, and while Keller won’t be on the mound Tuesday, a bad Tigers lineup might not have the book on Ortiz.
After his first start of the season got out of hand, compounded by some defensive mistakes around him, a Tigers offense that strikes out frequently is a nice soft landing spot for a pitcher who has impressed at the minor-league level this season.
A Pirates offense that has hit some bumps recently will try to make Lorenzen work and get him out of the game quicker than his last two opponents did. After back-to-back starts allowing 1 ER over 7 IP, it wouldn’t be surprising if there’s some regression to the mean for Lorenzen in front of a shaky bullpen.
The ship has to turn around for the Pirates at some point. Sunday’s win could be a sign they’re over their recent slide.
Pirates vs. Tigers Prediction: Pirates +100
Pirates vs. Tigers Odds
The Tigers enter as slight home favorites at -120 on the moneyline. The over/under is 9 runs.
The Pirates have been the better team this season, but they’ve been trending downward while the Tigers have at least shown some signs of life. Does Detroit have what it takes offensively to pull this one off at home?
Pirates vs. Tigers Key Matchups
Here are the key matchups that could decide Pirates vs. Tigers.
Pirates Lineup vs. Michael Lorenzen’s Efficiency
Lorenzen has been very impressive over his last two starts, following in Eduardo Rodriguez’s footsteps with extended, efficient outings. He’s lasted seven innings in each of his last two starts, coming in at under 100 pitches in both. Can he replicate that kind of efficiency on Tuesday?
The Tigers’ bullpen has a pedestrian 3.91 ERA and a -0.2 WAR that ranks among the worst in the league. Detroit’s best bet is a long outing from Lorenzen, avoiding heavy bullpen usage.
For a pitcher who has struggled with control throughout his career, this will be an important test of whether his improved command is sustainable. The Pirates’ lineup walks an average of 3.8 times per game, the fifth-highest mark in the league, and has the patience to make Lorenzen work.
Tigers’ High-Strikeout Lineup vs. Luis Ortiz
It’ll be very interesting to see what the Pirates can get out of Ortiz, who has impressive minor-league numbers this season but got hit around a bit in his first start of the season. What stands out about Ortiz’ track record is his strikeout rate. He averaged 11.6 K/9 in the minors in 2021 and 10.0 K/9 in 2022.
That mark came down this season even as he continued to improve, and he struck out only one of the 24 batters he faced against the Rockies last week. Can Ortiz get back to generating swing-and-misses against the Tigers? Detroit averaged 9.10 strikeouts per game, bottom-eight in baseball. Riley Greene and Nick Maton have strikeout rates near 30%, while Jake Rogers is near 35%.
Ortiz will have to take advantage of Tigers hitters who make a habit of striking out. His minor-league track record indicates he can.
Pirates vs. Tigers Starting Lineups
Pirates Starting Lineup
DH Andrew McCutchen R
LF Bryan Reynolds S
1B Carlos Santana S
CF Jack Suwinski L
RF Connor Joe R
SS Tucupita Marcano L
3B Ke’Bryan Hayes R
2B Ji Hwan Bae L
C Austin Hedges R
Tigers Starting Lineup
2B Zach McKinstry L
CF Riley Greene L
SS Javier Baez R
1B Spencer Torkelson R
3B Nick Maton L
DH Andy Ibanez R
LF Akil Baddoo L
RF Matt Vierling R
C Jake Rogers R